Autumn Statement 2015: winners & losers

Nevertheless, as ever, there will be winners and losers as new policies are introduced, and previously floated changes are confirmed. Here’s our take on who’ll be better off as a result. 


Pensioners: Will see the state pension rise by 2.9% in April, to £119.30 a week.

First time buyers: Will see the Help to Buy Equity scheme extended to 2021. Londoners will be eligible for a five-year interest free loan worth up to £240,000 to help them step onto the property ladder. The Chancellor also extended plans for affordable house properties, with starter home discounts on 200,000 properties, earmarked 135,000 properties for shared ownership schemes and added 10,000 properties to the rent-to-own scheme.

Housing association tenants: Will see their chances of home ownership improve, as a right-to-buy pilot scheme was rolled out to five housing associations.

Downsizers: George the Builder’s plans also included 8,000 new homes for older people and those with disabilities. It’s not much, but it’s a start.

Tax credit recipients: Osborne scrapped planned cuts to tax credits, though arguably the (delayed) cuts to Universal Credit will hit many of the same people. And other previously announced changes, such as scrapping child support beyond the first two children in a household, will go ahead as planned.

Apprentices: A 0.5% levy on large companies’ payrolls will fund an extended apprenticeship scheme that aims to train 3,000,000 people by 2020. This should create more training opportunities for younger people, but a cynic could argue it’s an opportunity for employers to sidestep the increased minimum wage, which doesn’t apply to people under 25.

Part time students and post-graduate students: Will be able to access the student loan system from 2016.

Usain Bolt: Has previously reportedly avoided competing at athletic meets in the UK, because of the potential tax bill. He’ll be pleased to see “The government will exempt non-resident competitors in the 2017 World Athletics and Paralympics Championships and the 2016 London Anniversary Games from income tax on their earnings from the event.”

Drivers: Are expected to see insurance premiums fall by £40-£50, due to lower legal costs from injury claims being moved to the small courts , and an end to the right to claim for some minor injuries like temporary bruising. Aviva claims 80% of insurance claims in the UK are for whiplash and ‘soft tissue related injuries’, compared to just 3% in France. There’s also a £250 million fund to fix potholes.

Flood plain residents: £2.3 billion has been allocated to build flood defences for 300,000 homes.

Small business owners and entrepreneurs: Will benefit from the creation of new enterprise zones, and the extension of rate relief for small employers for another year.

Housebuilders: May do as well as first time buyers from the house building plans. The Spending Report outlines plans to sell land worth £4.5 billion to build 160,000 homes. That works out as about £29,000 per property, which should leave the developers a healthy profit margin, even with a 20% discount of market values on starter homes. They’ll also benefit from a ‘cheaper domestic energy efficiency supplier obligation’, which hopefully won’t increase energy costs for new build properties.

Commuters: Regulated rail fair rises will be linked to the retail price index throughout this parliament, less than the previous RPI + 1% deal.


Near-retirees: No changes to the flat rate state pension mean some 80% of people retiring in 2016 will be worse off, according to Columbia Threadneedle. Women will be worse affected, as there are no planned changes to increase the state pension age to 66.

Buy to let investors and second home owners: Will be charged an extra 3% stamp duty on buy to let properties from 1 April 2016. They’ll also have just 30 days to calculate and settle capital gains tax (CGT) from property disposals from April 2019. Currently sellers have between 10 and 22 months to pay CGT.

High end Isa savers: There will be no increase to Isa or Jisa allowances. Any increase would have been linked to the September inflation figure, which was negative, so arguably this is a real term increase. Additionally, the Isa allowance has increased massively in recent years, and the vast majority of savers don’t use the full amount.

Tax avoiders: New penalties have been introduced under the General Anti-Avoidance scheme, meaning those found guilty will have to fines worth 60% of their tax bill.

Students: Will see the repayment threshold frozen, effectively increasing their repayments in real terms. The interest calculation is changing, which will leave higher earners better off, but inflate student debts for others. Low income students will see grants abolished, as anticipated, and grants for nurses and healthcare workers will also be removed.

Auto-enrolled employees: Workers who have been moved to the new auto-enrolment system  will see contribution hikes delayed for six months to align with the tax year. They’ll receive less from their employers as a result, and the government expects to save £720 million from the changes, presumably in tax relief. 

Local councils: While they may be permitted to increase council tax by 2% a year to pay for social care, they’ll need to sell off assets to maintain their funding.

Green energy investors: All energy generation activities will be excluded from Venture Capital Trust tax relief.

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