George Osborne's Autumn Statement on Wednesday was not the most drastic on record, but still saw winners and losers from the effects it will have in key sectors. As my colleague Nancy points out in her reaction, many Defence companies saw rises in their share prices last week owing to the chancellor's pledge to increase military spending. Amongst the other beneficiaries were first-time buyers, especially in London where a new Help to Buy scheme for the capital will offer an interest-free loan on top of a deposit, allowing buyers to take out a smaller mortgage from a normal lender.
From the other side, those impacted not so positively include landlords and property investors - Mr Osborne will be increasing stamp duty on purchases on second homes by 3% over and above the current rates, and that is on top on new taxes for mortgages landlords announced this summer. Businesses are also likely to be negatively affected by an an apprenticeship levy being introduced in April 2017 at a rate of 0.5 per cent of the employer’s paybill.
We had hoped for some clarity surrounding tax relief on pension contributions where rumours abound of this being cut for the highest earners, however the Chancellor said this will be provided in April 2016 - stay tuned...
George Osborne has not deviated from his commitment to austerity. Yes, he has loosened the purse strings for a much-needed boost for the defence budget and housebuilding, but he is also fully aware that he is not making as great inroads into the deficit as he would have liked. It is clear there are further cuts to come.