Regulation  

What has the Autumn Statement done for us?

In an Autumn Statement riddled with jibes against the opposition, likening Labour to Mars - a red planet, devoid of intelligent life - the chancellor still managed to bring in measures that surprised some and delighted others.

The changes to stamp duty were the biggest talking point, blowing out of the water Labour’s proposed mansion tax on properties worth £2m or more.

Citing the existing regime as a burden that “has increased on low and middle-income workers in the UK”, chancellor George Osborne said it was time that there was a fundamental change in the way it is calculated.

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There will be a tiered rate from now on, with no tax payable on properties up to £125,000 and up to 12 per cent for properties worth £1.5m and above. With the measure being implemented from midnight tonight (3 December), anyone who has exchanged but not yet completed can choose which stamp duty regime they wish to use. This will also apply to Scotland until April 2015.

Housing pledges might also please both borrowers and lenders, with the chancellor stating there are more homes in the offing, with him committing to measures to support up to 133,000 homes.

The Isa changes were also hailed as a welcome move, allowing spouses to inherit their deceased partner’s Isa, with the tax status - although as Adrian Walker, retirement specialist for Old Mutual suggested, this is odds with the abolition of the death tax on pensions.

Under this proposal, pension savings can be passed on to a wider range of beneficiaries and for the inherited pension to be passed on through multiple generations potentially free of tax.

He believes it would be worthwhile extending the same benefits to Isa regulations.

There was more good news on tax for earners - there was a long-awaited rise in the income tax threshold for those on the 40 per cent tax band and an increase in the tax allowance to £10,600.

But non-doms might find new measures a little more stringent. The government will increase the annual charge paid by non-domiciled individuals resident in the UK who wish to retain access to the remittance basis of taxation.

The charge paid by people who have been UK resident for seven out of the past nine years will remain at £30,000. The charge paid by people who have been UK resident for 12 out of the last 14 years will increase from £50,000 to £60,000.

A new charge of £90,000 will be introduced for people who have been UK resident for 17 of the last 20 years. The government will also consult on making the election apply for a minimum of 3 years

Other things to note included:

Sovereign Wealth Fund

The government has proposed creating a sovereign wealth fund for the North West of the UK, to invest revenues generated by fracking in the North West.

As early as 2008, commentators were asking why the UK did not have an SWF when other nations, such as Norway, had been running these for years.