Blick Rothenberg

Autumn Statement reactions

23.11.2016

Our experts share their reactions to the announcements made in today’s Autumn Statement.

Annual Budget
  • “Reforming the Budget to an Autumn Statement will allow Parliament greater time to review draft legislation. Perhaps the Chancellor should have gone further to reform the tax year to one that ends on 31 December rather than 5 April and would bring the UK into line with the modern world,” said Paul Smith, partner.
  • “Fantastic news that the UK will move the annual Budget to Autumn rather than Spring, ensuring that there is plenty of time between announcements and the start of the tax year. Although there will now be a ‘Spring Statement’ but no significant changes announced. This provides greater certainty to businesses and people in the UK,” said partner Genevieve Moore.


Property

  • Genevieve Moore, partner, comments: “Landlords get hit again as the Chancellor announces that they, and not tenants, will be liable for letting agent fees. In most cases landlords and tenants currently pay these fees, but it is likely that charges for landlords will increase as letting agents maintain their charges. This could trigger increases in rents as landlords recover these costs from tenants - surely not what the Chancellor is trying to do.”
  • “The Chancellor missed a golden opportunity to kick-start the supply of new homes by not offering tax-incentives to release brownfield and greenfield sites. The housing infrastructure fund will help but we could have done more”, said Robert Pullen, senior manager.
  • “The £4bn announced for affordable housing will have limited effect if the planning system is not relaxed to bring these homes forward quickly. The Chancellor should go further and suspend Stamp Duty Land Tax on development sites if local authority affordable home targets are to be met,” said partner Frank Nash.
  • “Targeted measures to increase and develop affordable housing are positive but don’t tackle the stagnant property market at the other end of the scale,” added partner Genevieve Moore.

Employment
  • “The Chancellor announced an alignment of Employees and employers NI thresholds and this to be a cost to employers.  It is unlikely that this will be a barrier to employment, but the largest employers will pay the most – and they’re not necessarily the most profitable businesses,” said Genevieve Moore, partner.
  • “The potential abolishment of Employer Shareholder Status brings an end to this rarely used and misdirected tax relief”, said Robert Pullen, senior manager.
 
  • “Employee Shareholder Status gets hit again, and looks like this is now on its way out, having been ‘abused’ since its introduction just a few years ago”, added partner, Genevieve Moore.
 

Personal allowance

  • “The Chancellor pushes forward with the pre-announced intentions to increase the Personal Tax Allowance to £12,500 by the end of this Parliament. This will cost an additional £8.6bn per annum and, while commendable, by the Chancellor’s own admission it will have to be funded by increased borrowing,” said Frank Nash, partner.

A copy of our full Autumn Statement 2016 Commentary can be found here

For more information, please contact your usual Blick Rothenberg advisor or Caroline Le Jeune at caroline.lejeune@blickrothenberg.com

For press comments, please contact David Barzilay at david.barzilay@blickrothenberg.com