MSE News

Martin Lewis: What the Autumn Statement means for you – including wages, benefits, pensions, ISAs, national insurance and more

The Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has today announced a range of new tax, benefits and savings measures in his Autumn Statement. MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis has shared his instant reaction and explained what the changes mean for you, and we've added more detail on them below.

Watch: Martin Lewis's instant Autumn Statement briefing

Martin Lewis: What the Chancellor's Autumn Statement really means for you.
Embedded YouTube Video

A round-up of today's announcements

Key announcements made today include the following – the links will take you to more info:

While the following points weren't directly mentioned in the Chancellor's speech, the Autumn Statement has also essentially confirmed:

Millions of workers to pay less national insurance from 2024

Both employees and self-employed workers will pay less in national insurance from next year, as the Chancellor has announced the following changes:

  • For employees, the rate of national insurance paid on earnings of between £12,570 and £50,270 a year will be cut from 12% to 10%.

    This is expected to benefit 27 million employees. It means the average worker on a £35,400 salary will save £450 over the 2024/25 tax year.

  • For self-employed workers, 'class 4' contributions will be cut from 9% to 8%, and mandatory 'class 2' contributions will be scrapped altogether.

    As a result, about two million self-employed workers will pay less national insurance, according to the Treasury. It says the average self-employed worker earning £28,200 a year will pay £350 less than they did this year.

However, these changes DON'T offset the freeze in income tax and national insurance thresholds, which determine when you start paying each tax. For full info, see our National insurance cuts MSE News story. Plus, use our National insurance and income tax calculator to find your new take-home pay. 

The state pension will rise by 8.5% from April 2024

Since 2010, increases to the state pension have typically been based on the so-called 'triple lock' commitment, which guarantees that payments rise in line with the largest of September's inflation, average wage growth between May and July (including bonuses), or 2.5%.

However, there had been speculation that the Government would choose to increase the state pension by a lower amount this time round – for example, by excluding bonuses from the average earnings figure in the pension triple-lock calculation.

But the Chancellor confirmed today that state pension payments would rise by the full 8.5% determined by the triple-lock formula. It means millions of people will receive a weekly increase of up to £17.35. See our State pension triple-lock MSE News story for full details.

Benefits including Universal Credit will rise by 6.7% from April 2024

From April 2024, most benefits and Tax Credits in England and Wales will increase by 6.7%, in line with September's inflation. This could mean, for example:

  • If you're a single person over 25 currently claiming Universal Credit, you'll get an extra £24.71 a month, as your allowance will rise from £368.74 a month to £393.45 a month.

For full details of the changes, including what's happening in Northern Ireland and Scotland, see our Benefits rises MSE News story.

Some private renters claiming housing benefits should get more support

Private renters who claim Housing Benefit, or the housing element of Universal Credit, will get more help with their housing costs from April next year, as the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) will be uprated to reflect current rental prices.

LHA is the rate used to set the maximum amount of either Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit that a private tenant can claim in England. The maximum amount varies by area and the number of people per household.

It's meant to ensure that those eligible can afford the cheapest 30% of suitable private rental properties in their area, but has been frozen since 2020 – meaning it hasn't kept up with rapidly rising private rental costs. See our Rent increase rights guide for what you can do if your rent is being put up.

Universal Credit claimants could face harsher sanctions if they fail to attend job fairs and interviews

Under planned new measures, the Government will track the attendance of each Universal Credit claimant at job fairs and interviews that have been organised by Jobcentres.

The 'Restart' scheme, which includes CV and interview skills, coaching and training sessions, will be extended for people who have not found a job after six months of claiming Universal Credit – shortened from the current nine months.

In addition, if you're on Universal Credit (and no other benefits) and you've had your payments reduced through a sanction for more than six months, your claim will be closed and your benefits will be stopped. This means you'll also lose access to related benefits, such as free prescriptions and legal aid.

It's not yet clear when these rules will take effect – we've asked the Government and we will update this story when we know more.

The national minimum wage will rise by 9.8% from next year

Lower-paid workers will benefit from the boost to their wages, though it's important to note that even the new rates won't match what campaign group the Living Wage Foundation says is the minimum that people need to live on.

How the minimum wage will change in April 2024

  Apprentices

Under-18s

Age 18 to 20

Age 21 to 22

Age 23+

Rates since April 2023 £5.28 £5.28 £7.49 £10.18 £10.42
Rates from April 2024 £6.40 £6.40 £8.60 £11.44

These rates apply to everyone, even if you're NOT paid hourly. For example, if you're 23 or older, and currently working 35 hours a week, your annual salary must be at least £18,964. See our National minimum wage guide for more info.

Savers will benefit from a raft of planned changes to ISAs making them simpler and easier to use

These include making it possible to pay into multiple ISAs of the same type in each tax year and allowing partial transfers of ISA funds regardless of when you paid in the money. See our ISA shake-up MSE News story for more info.

5%-deposit mortgages look likely to stick around as Government extends its guarantee scheme for lenders

The scheme is designed to encourage lenders to offer more 95% mortgages (in other words, mortgages for those with a 5% deposit), as it guarantees that the Government will shoulder some of the cost if the lender loses money.

It had been due to end on 31 December 2023, but the Chancellor has announced that it will be extended by another 18 months – meaning it will now run until at least mid-2025.

For more information about how the scheme works, see our Mortgage guarantee scheme (95% mortgages) guide.

'Pension pots for life' to be considered

The Government will consult on giving savers the legal right to have new employers pay in to existing pension pots, which the Chancellor said opens up the opportunity for a "pension pot for life".

Income tax and national insurance thresholds remain frozen until 2028

Despite the cut to national insurance rates, both national insurance and income tax thresholds – which determine when you start paying each tax – will remain frozen until April 2028 (as announced by the Government last year).

For many, this will entirely offset the national insurance cut, as evidenced in this tweet from the Institute for Fiscal Studies:

You can check how your take-home pay will be affected with our updated National insurance and income tax calculator.

Lifetime ISAs (LISAs) unchanged – despite our calls for an overhaul

MoneySavingExpert.com and its founder Martin Lewis have been campaigning for the Government to overhaul "dead duck" LISAs so that savers using LISA money to buy a home that's now over the property price limit of £450,000 aren't hit by a fine for accessing their own cash.

However, sadly, no changes to the LISA were included in the Chancellor's speech today or in any of the Treasury's follow-up documents. See our LISAs campaign update for more info.

State-backed savings provider NS&I's funding target was unchanged – so it's unlikely to offer blockbuster rates any time soon

The Government sets and regularly reviews the target for the amount of money NS&I must raise by attracting savers to deposit their cash with it.

The Autumn Statement has left this target unchanged from the Spring Budget in March, at £7.5 billion. As a result, NS&I looks unlikely to have to fight hard for savers' cash by launching best-buy deals (as it did earlier in the year).

Inheritance tax rates and thresholds AREN'T changing

Despite lots of earlier speculation that the Government would make changes to inheritance tax, this was left untouched in today's Autumn Statement.

Earlier this week, Martin posted a quick explainer on how the tax works on social media:

For full info, see our Inheritance tax guide.

MSE weekly email

FREE weekly MoneySaving email

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes simply sign up today – it's spam-free!