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Autumn Statement 2015: Key Points

George Osborne has today delivered his first Autumn Statement as Chancellor of a Conservative majority government. The clear focus of this budget was boosts to housebuilding, revised economic forecasts and to tackle the high budget deficit.
The growth forecast for 2015-16 has remained unchanged from July’s Budget and is at 2.4%, while the forecast growth in 2016-7 and 2017-18 has been revised up to 2.4% and 2.5% respectively. 

Picture: Parliament UK

Enterprise Zones
The Government plans to create 26 new Enterprise Zones. This includes the redevelopment and expanding of eight existing Zones. To ‘spread the benefit’ of Enterprise Zones, 15 will cover smaller towns and rural areas. For a full list of the new Enterprise Zones, click here.
Digitalisation of tax and tax returns
As outlined in the March Budget, George Osborne has announced plans to digitalise tax and tax returns for smaller businesses and the self-employed. Most taxpayers will have access to their digital tax account, to view your tax position online using free apps and software.
Apprenticeship levy
Imposing the apprenticeship levy from 2017 at 0.5% for employers with wage bills in excess of £3million to help pay for three million apprenticeships over the course of the current Parliament. There is also a £15,000 allowance for eligible firms, which means that 98% of employers will not pay.
Business rates
Uniform business rates are to be abolished. It will be up to councils and elected mayors to cut or raise the rates under certain conditions. All rates income will be retained by councils by 2020 with the central block grant phased out. The small business rate relief scheme will be extended for another 12 months, offering much-needed help for smaller businesses.
Business and corporate taxes
New rules have been announced to target tax avoidance regarding capital allowances and intangible assets.
Personal Tax
Mr Osborne has announced the abolition of the £4 billion planned tax credit cuts, promising to deliver the £12 billion welfare cuts over the next five years. There will also be targeted changes to disguised remuneration tax avoidance.
Indirect tax
The second big change this year to stamp duty affecting the higher end of the property market. A 3% surcharge on stamp duty will be levied from April 2016 when some buy-to-let properties and second homes are bought.
Other key changes
  • The Chancellor confirmed an additional £800million will be made available for HMRC to tackle tax evaders.
  • More power to the General Anti-Abuse Rule (GAAR) by introducing a 60% penalty of the tax due.
  • By 2019 there will be a 30-day deadline for the payment of capital gains tax (CGT) on residential property.
  • Increased devolution of power and financial responsibility to councils and local government.