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Autumn budget 2017 summary

23 November 2017

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond delivered his first Budget of the parliament, which replaced the Spring Budget. He focused his statement on addressing ‘inter-generational unfairness’ and boosting the UK’s comparative research and investment public funding. 


The Chancellor said the OBR expects debt to peak at 85.6% this year and said borrowing will fall year-on-year between now at the end of the parliament.

As expected, there was a large focus on providing scope for building new homes and helping young people get on the housing ladder. The Chancellor said the Budget would aim to support the economy through the uncertainty ahead as the UK leaves the European Union.

Hammond said the government will allocate a further £3 billion into Brexit preparations. He also said the government have invested £700 million in Brexit preparations already.

Read our response to the Budget.

Autumn Budget 2017

Summary of the further key measures announced:

  • House building – £44 billion committed over the next 5 years to capital funding, loans and guarantees to support the housing market to build 300,000 new homes by the mid-2020s. A further pledge for 100,000 homes for Oxfordshire by 2031 supported by transport infrastructure investment.
  • Planning reform – More homes were pledged for first time buyers and further detail will be provided by the Secretary of Secretary for Communities and Local government ‘in due course’, according to the Chancellor. An urgent review has been issued to look at the gap between planning permissions and house building – chaired by Rt Hon Oliver Letwin MP. He will deliver an interim report before the Spring Statement in 2018. If it finds that land is being used for commercial use rather than residential use, the government will intervene with new measures.
  • Stamp duty land tax – The government will permanently raise the threshold at which a property becomes liable for SDLT to £300,000 for first‑time buyers. The relief will not apply for purchases of properties worth over £500,000. The government says 95% of first‑time buyers that pay SDLT will benefit, up to a maximum of £5,000, and 80% of first‑ time buyers will pay no SDLT at all.
  • Employment Law - The government will publish a discussion paper as part of the response to Matthew Taylor’s review of employment practices in the modern economy, exploring the case and options for longer-term reform to make the employment status tests for bot employment rights and tax clearer.
  • Tax avoidance – The government is aiming to raise £4.5 billion by 2022-2023 from tax avoidance after introducing a package of measures.
  • Productivity – Hammond launched the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) in the Spring Budget and said today that government would commit to an additional year of the programme, increasing the overall budget from £23 billion to over £31 billion. He pledged a further £2.3 billion for R & D through the NPIF.
  • Artificial Intelligence - The government will create a new Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation to enable and ensure safe, ethical and innovation in AI and data-driven technologies. The advisory body will work with government, regulators and industry to lay the foundations for AI adoption, which estimates suggest could benefit households across the UK by up to £2,300 per year by 2030, and increase GDP by 10%. The government will invest over £75 million to take forward key recommendations of the independent review on AI, including exploratory work to facilitate data access through ‘data trusts’.The government will create new AI fellowships, and initially fund 450 PhD researchers, to secure the UK’s leading position in the global AI market.
  • Driverless vehicles – The government wants to see fully self-driving cars, without a human operator, on UK roads by 2021. It will make changes to the regulatory framework, such as setting out how driverless cars can be tested without a human safety operator.
  • Ultra-lower emission vehicles – The measures launched include: a £400 million charging investment infrastructure fund; a £100 million plug in car grant and £40 million for charging research and development.
  • Small Business Rates – The government will bring forward measures to ensure business rate measures are calculated based on the CPI rate of inflation from RPI in 2018, which he claimed was worth over £2 billion to small businesses.

Further announcements:

  • Income tax – Personal allowance increased to £11,850 and the higher rate threshold increased to £46,350, in line with inflation. 
  • VAT - The VAT threshold will not be reduced from £85,000, but Hammond said he will review it to determine whether it could be changed to incentivise growth.
  • Online VAT evasion – The government announced a 'crack down' on online VAT evasion by strengthening and extending existing powers that make online marketplaces responsible for the unpaid VAT of their sellers.
  • Empty properties – Local authorities can now choose to offer 100% premium on local council tax on empty properties, up from the current rate of 50%.
  • Help to Buy Equity Loan – The announcement in October of a further £10 billion for the scheme was confirmed in the Budget, which the government says will support another 135,000 people to buy a new home. 

Question or comments? Contact the Public Affairs team at parliamentary@lawsociety.org.uk or 020 7320 5858.

Tags: Westminster weekly update | Budget

About the author

Alexandra Cardenas is Head of Public Affairs and Campaigns at the Law Society. Public Affairs manages the relationships with parliament and government. She is a dual qualified solicitor in England and Wales (2014), and Colombia (2002). Prior to the Society, she practised as a human rights lawyer and worked at Macmillan Cancer Support and Animal Defenders International.

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