Autumn Budget 2018: Lifetime Allowance to rise; Isa allowance to remain at £20,000

Kyle Caldwell
29 October 2018

The Lifetime Allowance is set to rise in line with inflation from next April, but the Isa allowance will remain at £20,000.

As expected, the Lifetime Allowance (LTA) will rise in line with inflation (consumer price index) to £1,055,000 from next April, it was announced today in the Autumn Budget.

The LTA, essentially a stealth tax on investment success, has been progressively whittled away to boost the Treasury coffers since it was introduced in 2006 by the then chancellor Gordon Brown. But last year, when the LTA stood at £1 million, it was announced it would from now on be increased each year in line with inflation. Therefore, today’s announcement does not come as a surprise.

Elsewhere, the Individual Savings Account (Isa) annual subscription limits will remain at £20,000. The allowance has never been more generous nor has the choice, as savers and investors now seven different Isa types to choose from.

The Junior Isa limit will rise in line with CPI inflation to £4,368. This same limit will apply to Child Trust Funds (CTFs). In addition, it was announced the government will publish a consultation next year on draft regulations for maturing CTF accounts.

The lack of change to the Isa allowance does not come as much of a surprise. Two years ago the allowance stood at £15,240, before being raised to £20,000 in April 2017. The increase surpasses rises in inflation since the Isa was introduced in 1999, when the allowance stood at £7,000. Moreover, only small numbers of savers and investors make use of the full allowance.

“With the uncertainty of Brexit looming larger than ever over the public purse, it is unsurprising that today’s budget has proven to be a damp squib from a private wealth and capital taxes perspective,” says John Annetts, partner and head of administration of estates at Howard Kennedy.

Although it was a quiet day on the pensions front the rise in the higher rate tax threshold, from £46,350 to £50,000 next April, will result previously higher-rate taxpayers slipping into the basic rate tax bracket.

As a consequence, the tax relief they receive when putting money into a pension will be halved from 40% to 20%.

Steven Cameron, pensions director at Aegon, says: “Increasing the higher rate tax threshold to £50,000 from next April will mean fewer people are higher rate tax payers with some moving to be basic rate tax payers.

He adds: "While few will object to this, it does affect pension saving as individuals receive tax relief, or a government top-up, based on their highest marginal income tax rate of 20%, 40% or 45%.

"For those moving down into the basic rate tax bracket, their government top-up is halved, meaning less may be going into their pension."

This article first appeared on our sister website Money Observer.

Add new comment