During the past month the Chancellor has delivered his Autumn Statement and we’ve had an avalanche of announcements and news all of which will affect your personal finances.
We’ve rounded up the seven biggest changes that you need to know about.
#1 Homebuyers: Stamp Duty cut
In his Autumn Statement George Osborne announced major changes to the way Stamp Duty is calculated.
At present anyone buying a residential property for more than £125,000 will pay Stamp Duty; calculated as a percentage of the whole purchase price.
Now the amount you pay will be a percentage of a series of tiers, which according to the Chancellor will cut Stamp Duty for 98% of homer buyers.
You can read more about the changes to Stamp Duty by clicking here.
#2 Savers & investors: ISAs now transferable on death
Until recently money held in ISAs could be left to your spouse when you died, but the tax efficiency was lost; in effect the ISA wrapper died when you did.
This meant that money which previously grew tax-efficiently, is potentially taxable after your death.
However, in a surprise move George Osborne has announced this will change. From now on your spouse will be able to inherit your ISAs and maintain their tax efficient status.
Add this to low inflation, as well as the changes to ISAs announced in the Budget and it hasn’t been a bad year for savers; if only interest rates would start to rise!
#3 Older savers: Pensioner Bonds to be launched
The Autumn Statement contained confirmation that the launch of Pensioner Bonds, from National Savings & Investments (NS&I), will take place in January.
Two bonds will be available, each with a different term, to anyone over the age of 65. Up to £10,000 can be saved in to each bond.
However, the all-important interest rates will not be announced until the 12th December, leaving savers to speculate whether the new Pensioner Bonds will offer a significantly better deal than they can already get.
#4 Savers: Funding for Lending to be extended
The Autumn Statement wasn’t all good news for savers though as the Chancellor announced that the Funding for Lending scheme will be extended.
You might well ask how an obscure Government mechanism designed to help the banks, affects your savings. To put it simply, the Funding for Lending scheme gives banks a cheap source of finance, which means they need to attract less money from savers and can therefore cut interest rates.
As long as the Funding for Lending scheme remains in place and Bank of England base rate stays at 0.5%, savers shouldn’t expect interest rates to rise.
#5 Commuters: Rail fares to rise
Rail fares will rise in England and Wales by 2.2% in January, well in excess of the current rate of inflation; the consumer prices index stood at 1.2% in October.
#6 Homeowners: House prices are still rising quickly
The value of residential properties in the UK is still rising rapidly.
According to the Halifax, house prices are now 8.8% higher than this time last year, with the average property now worth nearly £190,000.
#7 Drivers: Cost of petrol now at the lowest level since 2010
If you have filled up your car recently you will have noticed something unusual, the price of petrol is falling. In fact new figures show that the price is at its lowest level since 2010.
The cost of oil has dropped from $115 a barrel, equivalent to about £72 in June to just $65 and we’re starting to see the effects on the forecourt.
The average price of a litre of petrol is now 119p, down by 9% since the summer. The price of diesel has also fallen by over 10p per litre.
What changes affected you?
Which of these changes have affected you? Have we missed any which will make you better or worse off?
We’d love to hear from you, why not get in touch by leaving a comment below.