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How does the 2014 Autumn Statement affect you?

Autumn Statement 2014

The Chancellor delivered his Autumn Statement to Parliament yesterday. So what were the key announcements for consumers and how will it affect our personal finances?

The Autumn Statement announced measures to tackle many of the issues that we know from our insight are consistently important for consumers.

Overall, consumers are feeling more positive about the state of the economy and four in 10 expect the economy to improve in the next year.

But attitudes towards people’s own household finances continue to lag behind economic optimism and three in 10 people remain in some sort of financial distress.

Moving home costs

Changes to stamp duty will remove the big leaps that consumers face between price brackets. Under the current rules, stamp duty is not tiered, which means that buyers are hit by big jumps in their tax bill when they tip into a new band. But under the new system, the rates will only apply to the portion of the selling price that falls into the tax band, instead of the whole value of the property.

Over half of us are worried about housing costs, which reflects the fact that consumers spend, on average, more than £1 in every £5 on this area. Given this context, the Chancellor’s big announcement on stamp duty reform is likely to be welcome news for many.

We’ve also been asked by the Chancellor to work with the Council of Mortgage Lenders to improve mortgage fee transparency and make it easier to choose the best mortgage deals.

We’re delighted that the Government has asked us to work on this issue. It’s a win for the 45,000 people who signed our petition and 3,000 who emailed their MPs.

Switching and saving

The Treasury estimates that 150,000 people lose out on tax advantages each year when their partner dies. Taxes on inheriting a pension pot will be extended to annuities and spouses will now be able to inherit a partner’s ISA tax free.

This is an important change given that four in 10 people do not have the recommended level of savings, and a quarter have no savings at all.

Fuel, roads and infrastructure

Over the last year, seven in 10 have consistently been worried about the price of fuel. The Chancellor extended the fuel duty freeze and – as advocated by Which? – the Government will install electronic signs showing fuel price comparisons on the M5.

Finally, new investment in roads, trains and flood defences was also announced in the run up to the Statement. The National Infrastructure Plan confirmed that investment over the next seven years will rise by a further £69bn, with most of this paid for through consumers’ bills. We will continue to press for greater scrutiny of this funding to ensure it is delivered at the lowest possible cost.

What were your highlights from the 2014 Autumn Statement? What key changes will make the biggest impact on your budgets?

How will the Autumn Statement affect you?

I don't think it will affect me (45%, 127 Votes)

It will have a positive impact on my finances (30%, 85 Votes)

It will have a negative impact on my finances (25%, 71 Votes)

Total Voters: 283

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Mr D Cummings says:
4 December 2014

Whats stamp duty got to do with it,if enough houses were being built that would make a greater impact on the prices of houses for all.these measures are going to push up the prices even more .we know its all about suppy n demand.I just think in the medium term when interest rates do start to rise there will be a lot of people that are going to struggle .If the polititians had lived up to their promises n built more houses over the last decade,the stupidily high cost of buying them now would never have happened.So stamp duty relief is just a grain of sugar in a big mug of murky coffee


Politicians can only help create the economic climate in which industry (including house building) can thrive, thus helping to improve employment opportunities. Unfortunately, developers are more interested in big profits than simply building houses, so many of them have been land banking during recessionary times – they will build and sell when the market is right for them, which will not result in cheap housing – that will never happen. The change in the way stamp duty is calculated will make the tax much fairer than it has been in the past, by reducing the hike in tax paid at specific thresholds. It will be more evenly calculated and help a lot of buyers, but at the same time will increase the amount collected at the higher end of the market.

Nick Heins says:
4 December 2014

Mr D Cummings – I quite agree – In fact successive governments have failed to build enough homes for many decades – as a consequence, this has caused property prices to rocket and outstrip peoples ability to keep up with the inflated prices. Most Young people today will find it impossible to ever own their own homes unless they are in the position where their parents can provide a substantial deposit.


This is a regional thing. In some parts of the country there are plenty of houses at affordable prices. The problem is the distribution of work. So long as everybody has to pile into London & the South East, where getting less property for more money is reaching ludicrous levels, hardship will persist. I would prefer to see the government taking bigger steps to shift work nearer the population than pressing housebuilders to throw up flats on every square inch of land and landlords to convert every terraced house into apartments. I agree with AQ on the benefits of the new Stamp Duty Land Tax scales, and to the extent that the Chancellor didn’t seek any correction of the distortion in L&SE by introducing differential regional bands then there might be some self-propelled movement of London employers to provincial locations if they cannot attract the workers they need.

AllanCMc says:
4 December 2014

For far too long politicians have been driving home ownership as a realistic and achievable aspiration for all as a guise to propping up a flagging ecconomy, now look at the state of the housing market, over priced, poor quality homes flung up on poor quality sites.
Pushing the home ownership is just another way of keeping people in debt and under control it’s a ” Thatcherism ” savers being stung by low interest rates to keep debt ( mortgage ) interest rates low is crooked unjust and unfair and enables politicians to try and control the inevitable housing bubble and prevent an inevitable negative equity situation arising again too soon but it will happen it has to.


The prices reflect what the majority of people can borrow, not what they can afford. The more they are allowed to borrow, the more they bid to compete with each other. Prices rise higher, and people have to stretch themselves further and further. Auctioneers and estate agents exhort people to bid a bit more or regret it forever after. Lenders are forced to offer more and more unreasonable income multiples.

As far as moving (exchanging one residence with another) is concerned, the legal professions (solicitors, accountants, estate agents, independent financial advisors) have failed the public by ratcheting up the uncertainties and stress involved more every year.

Asabus says:
4 December 2014

My major concern about mortgages on the whole is simply this:

A hard working person pays without defaulting for 24 years.

There is only one year to go and they suddenly have a financial problem that means they cannot pay. Their house is repossessed.

I think it is high time we fought against this and based on a tier system and the number of years one has paid back – should not loose everything.

People’s lives are ruined time and time again by repossessions after years of paying.

It is high time the Council of Mortgage lenders came up with a scheme that will stop the practise of selling their house for a pittance and chasing them for the balance.

Can Which do something about this?


I don’t think people should be taxed at all when they move home. After all, one of the reasons Apartheid South Africa was a pariah nation was because of restrictions of movement. Also various governments have tried to encourage mobility of the workforce. Penalising people who drive too fast makes them slow down. Penalising relocation gives the message that the government prefers people to stay in one place.

The process of buying and selling homes is far too stressful. This is partially due to the huge numbers of hangers on who claims fees, and the growing demand for various reports by mortgage lenders. They don’t care — they are all paid for by someone else.

It is possible to do a week’s course on something like counting and classifying light bulbs and then charge a hapless buyer for an energy report. I was even told by an energy company that some people were getting certificates to qualify them to make these reports after only an hour and a half’s study.

Of course people buying business premises or buy to rent properties should pay a tax penalty commensurate with that when buying stock exchange investments.

A sliding scale based on the price of the deal paid by the seller would be better than one paid by the buyer. Placing the tax penalty on the buyer generates the “I don’t care someone else is paying” mentality on the seller. It is the seller who is in control of the transaction, unless it is a public auction.

Tracy says:
4 December 2014

Hopefully this will work, and not just a publicity stunt. I’ll be interested to find the results and what the outcome will be.

Don Wurkin says:
4 December 2014

How on earth do people think there will be a positive effect on their finances when the chancellor has announced an enormous increase in the cuts to public services?


The cuts were not targeted on services, but on the numbers of public servants, a huge proportion of which are not employed on front-line delivery. There is massive scope to streamline the provision of public services, both at national and local government level. As an example – take local roads, the responsibility for which falls to the Highways Departments of County Councils. They have armies of people sat in offices all day absorbing huge sums of public funding – from Council Tax and from Central Government Grants, but little of it results in maintaining our local roads to a decent standard. This example can be repeated across a whole raft of services, where so little of the funding we provide actually ends up in what we need.


It is not possible to finance public services from taxes on easily identifiable small groups with few votes but lots of money. A general increase in income or expenditure taxation would result in less economic activity, and so the tax take falls, and with it public services. Income tax was once over 30% and purchase tax the same.

Financial penalties alter people’s behaviour — that is why fines are often an effective punishment and preventative of undesirable behaviour.

The only solution is more efficient public services, and fortunately technology advances can help with this.

For example, genomic medicine can cut the expenditure on prescription medicines by a significant amount, and this will get phased in over the next couple of decades, or even sooner if the political will is there. (Knowing someone’s genome enables doctors to be sure whether a particular medicine will work.) Effective pharmacology will cut back on the need for surgery and hospitals. A health service needs to help as many perfect strangers as possible. Pharmacology enables doctors to help far more people than expensive operations which can only help one at a time.

The application of science rather than crowd gut reaction has the potential to reduce crime. Imprisonment is very expensive and again affects individuals one at a time. Alternative and more effective methods will reduce costs.

The application of ever increasing computing power should replace the enormous waste of resources by legal administration. I don’t know what the gross income of the legal professions (solicitors, accountants, estate agents, IFAs, insurance people etc) as a whole are, but it doesn’t bring the same benefits as housing or infrastructure, and whatever benefits it does bring affects individuals one at a time and are not long lasting. Remove this inefficiency and society as a whole benefits.