The Chancellor Philip Hammond has unveiled the Government's financial plans in the 2017 Autumn Budget – including abolishing stamp duty for many first-time buyers.
Hammond delivered the Budget to the House of Commons this afternoon, announcing a number of measures affecting consumers. These measures – alongside others outlined in Budget papers published online – include:
- Stamp duty abolished for most first-time buyers. First-time buyers will pay zero stamp duty on the first £300,000 on any home that costs up to £500,000 with immediate effect – so on a home worth less than £300,000, you'll pay no stamp duty. See our Stamp duty axed for most first-time buyers news story for full info.
- Universal credit to be paid out earlier. The standard wait for universal credit benefit claimants to get their first payment will be cut from six to five weeks from February. Claimants will also be able to access a full month's payment within five days of applying as an advance. See Universal credit changes.
- Tax hike on new diesel cars. Vehicle excise duty for new diesel cars which don't meet the latest emissions standards will go up by one tax band from April 2018. The money raised will go towards a new £220 million 'Clean Air Fund' – but the hike in vehicle tax will not apply to vans. See Diesel tax hike.
- National minimum wage to rise. From April, the national minimum wage will rise 4.4%, from £7.50/hour to £7.83/hour. See National minimum wage rise.
- Personal tax allowance to be raised to £11,850. The Government will increase the tax-free personal allowance to £11,850 from April 2018, while the threshold at which you pay a higher rate of income tax will rise from £45,000 to £46,350. See Personal allowance increase.
- New 26-30 Railcard to give a third off many fares. As revealed by MoneySavingExpert.com in October, a new railcard for those aged 26-30 will be trialled in one area from December, with a nationwide roll-out set for next year. Yesterday full details were released of how the 26-30 Railcard trial will work – it offers a third off most off-peak and advance tickets, but can't be used on season tickets.
- Bereaved spouses to be able to claim backdated marriage tax allowance. Widows or widowers can now claim marriage tax allowance backdated by up to four years – so you could be able to reclaim £100s. See Marriage tax allowance extended.
- Fuel duty frozen. This will remain frozen for petrol and diesel for the eighth year in a row.
- Tax on tobacco to go up, but alcohol duty to remain frozen. The price of cigarettes is set to rise with duty on tobacco going up by 2% plus inflation from 6pm today (Wednesday) – there will also be an additional 1% duty on hand-rolling tobacco. Tax on beer, spirits, wine and many ciders will be frozen.
- Government to consult on possible taxes on plastic cups, takeaway packaging etc. Following the introduction of the 5p minimum charge for plastic bags, the Government will now look at how the tax system or minimum charges for other single-use items could help reduce waste.
- Action to curb unintended student loan overpayments. The Student Loans Company and HM Revenue & Customs will update their processes by April 2019, to share data more frequently and stop payments being taken after a borrower has fully repaid, to ultimately reduce the number of graduates accidentally overpaying their student loans.
- Air passenger duty hike for long-haul business and first-class customers. Short-haul air passenger duty rates will remain frozen. The long-haul rate for economy passengers will be frozen but the rates for premium economy, business and first class will increase by £16, while those travelling by private jet will pay an extra £47. These changes will take effect from April 2019. If you use Avios points to get cheap non-economy tickets you'll be hit by this as you still pay taxes - see our Avios tricks guide for help.
Watch Martin's initial reaction to the Budget
Here are Martin's first thoughts on the measures announced in the Budget...