Autumn Statement 2013

by Paul Northmore, Managing Director
While George Osborne tells us “The plan is working,” the fact facing many of us is that we ourselves will be working longer than expected before we receive a state pension.
The headline implications of this year’s Autumn Statement are that those now in their 40s will need to work until 68 to get the state pension, and those currently in their 30s will have to wait until age 69. And who knows if the pension age will rise yet further in years to come?
It’s an inevitable outcome for an aging population the country can’t afford to fund.  And it’s compounded by the fact that those starting work today typically do so at about 21, six years later than the typical age when the pension model was first established – so the system is losing out on a lot of NI contributions.

Once again this outlines the simple fact that none of us can rely on the government – any government – to fund our retirement years.  Even the state pension (set to modestly increase by £2.95 per week for new retirees from next April) will scarce cover the basics for many people. Regularly paying into your own personal pension fund is the only way to make sure your future isn’t in someone else’s hands.
But the Autumn Statement did bring a little joy for families. Children in Reception or Key Stage 1 next September can enjoy free school meals. The 2p increase in fuel duty planned for next year has been scrapped. And the personal tax allowance will rise to £10,000 in April. Many who are married or in civil partnerships can look forward to an element of tax allowance transfer in 2015, too.
Savers can benefit from an increase in the 2014-15 ISA limit, which will rise to £11,880 (half of which can be saved in a cash ISA). The Junior ISA and Child Trust Fund limits will both be increased to £3,840.  If you’re not already saving into an ISA, make sure you do – why pay tax on your interest? Speak to us, and we can help you.
For investors, from April 2014 the government will remove the stamp duty and Stamp Duty Reserve Tax (SDRT) charge on purchases of shares in exchange traded funds (ETFs) that would currently apply if an ETF were domiciled in the UK.
And finally… we mustn’t forget the greatest casualty of all in the Autumn Statement: the car tax disc. Sadly, this doesn’t spell an end to car tax – simply that electronic tracking methods have superseded the need for a little piece of coloured paper stuck inside your windscreen. Hang on to your last tax disc when it expires though: it may be worth something on Antiques Roadshow one day.

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