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10 ways the Autumn Statement could affect you

The Autumn Statement included 110 changes that the government is making. Here’s the 10 that are most likely to affect you.

22 November 2023

1. ISA and child trust fund allowance limits aren’t changing

Next tax year, which runs from 6 April 2024 to 5 April 2025, the amount you can pay into your Individual Savings Account (ISA) will stay the same. Those limits are:

  • Junior ISA: up to £9,000
  • Adult ISA: up to £20,000
  • Lifetime ISA: up to £4,000 (plus up to £1,000 in government bonus). Anything you pay into a lifetime ISA also comes out of your overall ISA allowance.

The child trust fund limit also isn’t changing. This is £9,000 a year and the limit resets each year on the child’s birthday.

More changes to lifetime ISAs were predicted, but there are no further lifetime ISA changes reported in the Autumn budget.

In other ISA news, the “one pay-in” rule is being removed. That means if you have more than one of the same type of ISA, for example if you have two stocks and shares ISAs, you’ll be able to pay into both during the same tax year. You just need to be careful not to pay in more than the £20,000 allowance limit.

The age limit for opening a cash ISA is increasing to 18, which is the same as other types of ISA.

2. The National Living Wage is going up and more people will be eligible

The government has accepted the recommendation from the Low Pay Commission to increase national living wage to £11.44 an hour. That's an increase of 9.8%.

In further good news, people will be eligible for the National Living Wage from when they turn 21. Currently people need to be 23 or over to get this minimum hourly payment.

Both of these changes will happen from 1 April 2024.

3. If you’re employed, you’ll pay less National Insurance from January

After 6 January, the government estimates that 27 million people will find themselves better off on pay day.

That’s because instead of 12% of your wage being taken out for National Insurance, only 10% will be.

To put this into context, if your earn £35,400, you will pay around £450 a year less in National Insurance.

4. Universal Credit and other working age benefits will increase to match inflation

Universal Credit and some other benefits are set to increase by 6.7%. On average, this will mean an extra £470 a year for the 5.5 million households who receive Universal Credit.

There were rumours that Universal Credit would only increase as much as inflation increased in the 12 months to October 2023. The good news is that the government is actually going to use the September inflation figure, which is a bigger number – so it’s increasing by more than the rumours predicted.

5. If you’re unemployed long-term, you may have to undertake a work placement

In other news for benefit claimants, the government plans to bring in new measures in 2024 to encourage you into work.

If you’re still unemployed and claiming benefits after a year on Restart, you'll have a meeting with a work coach who will explore how they can support you into work. If there are no suitable jobs available, they might instead ask you to go to a time-limited mandatory work placement or another activity to increase your skills.

If you refuse, the government says it may stop your benefits.

This won't apply to people who can't work due to illness or disability.

6. If you’re self-employed, you will be asked to pay less National Insurance

As all self-employed people know, the tax system can be complicated. To simplify it and to make self-employed people better off, from 6 April 2024 the government is doing two things:

  • removing the need for self-employed people to pay class 2 National Insurance (but keeping contributory benefits including State Pension)
  • reducing the amount of class 4 National Insurance that self-employed people are asked to pay from 9% to 8%.

The government predicts these two changes will save around 2 million self-employed people on average £350 a year.

7. State Pension is increasing by 8.5%

Good news for anyone receiving a pension: the government has honoured the pension triple lock.

In real terms, this simply means the increase in State Pension will be more than it might have been if the government hadn’t honoured its past promises.

It will go up by 8.5%, which is roughly £900 more a year than you’ll be getting currently.

8. You may able to choose your own pension pot in the future

The government is launching a call for evidence to find out if it would be better for employees to legally be able to choose where their workplace pension is paid.

This will make it possible to have just one pension pot throughout your working life, rather than having lots of different pots from all the different jobs you’ve worked.

9. There will be more money available to help businesses recruit apprentices

The government has promised £50 million in funding to deliver a two-year apprenticeship pilot, particularly focusing on engineering apprenticeships and in other sectors that it says have staff shortages.

The plan is give all adults access to high quality apprenticeships.

10. Tax on alcohol won’t go up until at least 1 August 2024

The government has frozen alcohol duty until summer 2024, in a bid to protect businesses and make it more affordable to go to the pub.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, holding up the red budget box

Find out what else is in the Autumn Statement

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