Autumn Statement 2023: What it means for you

Finder's experts explain the impact of the chancellor's changes on your household finances.

Our experts, Kate Steere, George Sweeney and Liz Edwards have analysed not just what the chancellor said but key changes that were buried in the official Autumn Statement document.

National insurance

Forecasts from the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) that were less gloomy than feared opened the way for the government to cut national insurance (NI) for 27 million working people.

We’re all being taxed at the highest levels since records began, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies. So the chancellor’s cut in the rate on NI from 12% to 10%, starting in January 2024, will be welcome news for many workers. The chancellor says this will mean someone on an average wage gets an extra £450 a year.

While the changes next year are welcome, millions of families are right now facing a Christmas on credit. The Bank of England has said some households are increasingly turning to credit because of cost of living pressures. Food and drink are around 10% more expensive than they were last year.

Some forecasts predict Brits will spend £3.7 billion on buy now, pay later in the run-up to Christmas – up 8.8% on last year. ”

Liz Edwards, Finder editor-in-chief

7 in 10 adults in the UK experienced financial stress or money worries in the past year, according to a survey Finder did recently. This equates to around 40 million people.

National living wage rise

Nearly 3 million low paid workers will have to wait until next April to get the rise of just over £1 an hour in the national living wage that the chancellor announced on Tuesday. The rise, of almost 10%, takes the rate to £11.44 per hour and will be extended to apply to workers aged 21 and 22. The chancellor said the earnings of full-time workers would rise by £1,800 a year as a result of the change.

ISAs

There were changes to ISAs buried in the small print of the statement. You will be able to open and pay into multiple ISAs of the same type, in the same tax year, starting from April 2024.

If you opened a fixed rate cash ISA with one provider, you could also open an easy access cash ISA in with another provider, and you could pay into them both in the same tax year. ”

George Sweeney, Finder investing expert

Pension “pot for life” and the triple lock

The chancellor unveiled changes that will mean your new employer will pay into your existing pension pot, if you choose. Keeping all your workplace contributions consolidated in one spot has some excellent benefits. It’s more admin for employers, but less of a headache for employees. And it means that you can benefit more from “compounding” – getting growth on your returns.

With sky-high inflation and wages on the up, the pension triple lock has become a much-discussed topic. The state pension has seen some bumper rises, with 10.1% in the last uplift and now an 8.5% increase on the horizon for April 2024.

The state pension has been increasing to keep pace with the rest of the economy, but this becomes increasingly more challenging and expensive. Most people, young and old, are in favour of the triple lock, so we’re not surprised to see it staying.

Rent support

In terms of housing, the local housing allowance rate will be increased to the 30th percentile of local market rents. The allowance has been frozen since 2020.

Higher interest rates have had a knock-on effect on the rental market, with many landlords having no option but to increase rents to cover their mortgage costs. The chancellor’s decision to increase local housing allowances will bring relief to low-income households. In a cost of living crisis, many families have had nowhere to turn and have faced going into rent arrears. This boost will be welcomed by both renters and landlords alike.

What wasn’t in the Autumn Statement?

There had been rumours about possible cuts to income tax. Currently, the threshold for when you start paying income tax – your personal allowance – is frozen at £12,570 until 2028. The freezing of this, and the threshold for when you pay higher rate tax, is seen as a “stealth tax” because as people’s wages rise with inflation, they’re caught by the old thresholds and pay more tax. The freeze is predicted to bring in over £26 billion a year in 2027/8 according to the OBR. Perhaps that’s why the chancellor left this alone.

Help for first-time buyers was also noticeably absent. The housing market’s resilience in the past couple of months may have swayed the chancellor away from introducing any groundbreaking changes. However, the fact remains that first-time buyers are faced with a shortage of properties in their price range and significantly higher borrowing costs. The government’s decision not to address problems with the lifetime ISA (LISA) scheme will leave many first-time buyers in limbo.

It’s short-sighted of the government not to acknowledge changes in the market and make adjustments to LISAs accordingly. ”

Kate Steere, Finder banking and mortgages expert

The same can be said for the decision to leave stamp duty untouched. Ahead of the statement, there were rumours of a stamp duty cut or a green stamp duty rebate. Neither has materialised, signifying that the government is inclined to let the market sort itself out. While house prices remain steady, buyer confidence is still low. A change to stamp duty could have stabilised the market and shored up confidence.

More guides on Finder

  • How to save money: 5 shortcuts

    Finder’s UK editor-in-chief shares 5 ways to save up to £423 on petrol, household bills and shopping.

  • Quirk Money review

    Interested in knowing more about your money habits? We explore the features on offer from the personality-test-based budgeting app Quirk Money.

  • What is piggy banking?

    Here’s everything you need to know to get started on this great savings technique to be smarter about your spending and savings.

  • Wally app review

    Wally is a budgeting app that lets you view your accounts, track payments, analyse your spending and set savings targets.

  • Wallet by BudgetBakers review

    Wallet by BudgetBakers helps you organise your money and personalise budgets and goals. Finder looks at its features, pros, cons and premium options.

  • Moneyhub app review

    An app that lets you see all your accounts in one place? Find out how the finance app could help you manage your money better.

  • Emma app review

    Want to take better control of your finances? We explore the budgeting and saving features offered by the Emma money management app.

  • The UK’s best budgeting apps of 2024

    Saving for a holiday? A house? Retirement? Budgeting apps could help you get a hold of your finances. Compare the best budgeting apps in the UK using our table.

  • Money Dashboard review

    Is Money Dashboard the right personal finance solution for you? We explore the finance planner and all of the features of a Money Dashboard account. Read our review to get the low down on a popular budgeting app.

Go to site