Budget News

Despite a rather downbeat economic forecast for 2018 there was some positive news in this year’s budget.

The Chancellor announced that the Government is scrapping stamp duty for those purchasing properties valued up to £300,000. For those buying a property worth up to £500,000, the first £300,000 will be exempt from the duty as well.

Government estimates suggest that 80% of people buying their first home will pay no stamp duty and the change will save the average first-time buyer £1,660.

The lifetime allowance for pension savings is increasing in line with CPI to £1,030,000 for 2018/19. The lifetime allowance, which currently stands at £1 million, is the total value of pension benefits you can receive in your lifetime without having to pay a tax charge. In 2017/18 the lifetime allowance was held at £1m after previously falling from £1.5m and £1.25m. There was no change in the annual allowance, the amount you can save towards your pension upon which you can earn relief. This annual allowance is £40,000 for the current tax year and it will remain the same for the next.

The Chancellor confirmed that the basic weekly state pension will rise by 3% in April 2018. Annual increases in the state pension are covered by the Government’s ‘triple lock guarantee’. This states that that the state pension will rise each year by whichever is highest of either September’s Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation figure, average wage growth or 2.5%. Therefore, the inflation rate of 3% in September 2017 dictated next year’s rise.

Mr Hammond also announced that £44bn of capital funding will be made available to help build 300,000 homes annually by mid-2020s helping to ease the chronic shortage of homes.

Finally, the Chancellor announced that there will be no rise in the duty on Alcohol – good news for those forthcoming Christmas parties!

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