An Autumn Statement to end them all

23 November 2016

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Chris Sanger, Head of Tax Policy at EY, comments:

“In what was really a mini-budget, with the 43 measures including 18 tax changes, the Chancellor ranged across tax system, giving a little bit here and taking a little bit there. The freeze in fuel duty was predominantly funded by the two percentage point increase in the Insurance Premium Tax. Some helpful additional funds will come from aligning the employer and employee rates of National Insurance contributions.

“The Chancellor has avoided a car crash, by exempting low emission vehicles from the £235m attack on salary sacrifice, but keeping many other benefits within his targets. He also increased the VAT flat rate scheme, providing another £195m next year, and confirmed the implementation of the off-payroll working rules in the public sector.

“All in all, this was an Autumn Statement that felt pretty familiar and similar to those of his predecessors. The Chancellor even confirmed that he would stick with the Business Tax Roadmap of the last Budget. This may be of limited benefit since it was more of a travel journal than a roadmap, and was short on vision for the future. Many businesses will be thankful for the lack of new measures but will now be waiting for legislation day on 5 December to see the detail of the items omitted from today’s speech.

“As for the statement itself, we will now see a return to the November Budgets we remember from the time of Ken Clarke, taking us back 20 years. In the future, the Chancellor will be able to play Father Christmas rather than the Easter Bunny.”