My Take on the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement

Written by Karen Bryan

Here are my thoughts on the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

The Good

The personal tax threshold is to increase to £9,440 from 6 April 2013, meaning that if your income is less than £9,440 you pay no tax. In my opinion, the tax threshold in the UK is still far too low. It should be set at £12,875, so that people working full time (40 hours a week) on the minimum wage (£6.19 an hour)  don’t pay any tax.

The annual ISA allowance is increasing to £11,520 from 6 April 2013. I wish that the Cash ISA limit was £11,520, it seems very unfair that you could use the whole allowance for a Stocks and Shares ISA but only half for a Cash ISA. With interest rates on savings falling, I don’t want to pay tax twice on my savings, first when I earn the cash and then on the interest. I’d also like to have seen Cash ISAs become available on any savings accounts.

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I’m relieved that the 3p increase in fuel duty, due in January 2013, has been ditched. Even though we run a diesel supermini, our fuel costs are around 10 pence a mile.

The Bad

The UK economy seems to be scrapping along the bottom with little growth in prospect, and austerity spending cuts lasting until April 2018.

I don’t like the changes to the tax relief on pensions. They don’t affect me personally, as my stakeholder pension pot will never be worth more than 1,5 million pounds. What annoys me is the constant changing of goalposts for pensions. We are always being told by the Government that we need to plan for retirement, but how can you do this with ever changing tax rules.

I think it must be hard enough to live on benefits. If inflation continues at its current level of around 3% and working age benefits are only going to be increased by 1% over the next three years, it’s going to be harsh on claimants. At the same time, I have spoken to some people who are as able to work as me but told me they are almost as well off on benefits, so it’s not worth going to work. I don’t see why I should pay more tax for their benefits. Back to the how do you adminster a fair welfare state.

The A1 is to become a motorway between London to Newcastle.  Why stop at Newcastle? It needs to be, at a minimum, dual carriageway from Newcastle to Edinburgh. We live in Berwick upon Tweed, midway between Newcastle and Edinburgh. Driving on the A1, especially south to Newcastle, can be a bit of nightmare, as much of the road is one lane in each direction.

Conclusion

I feel that overall the measures announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn statement will have very little impact on our finances.  Most of the “good” points are little more than inflation upradings. I feel that the prices of things that we buy has increased by more than the official rate of inflation.

What’s your opinion of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement and how it’ll affect your finances?