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What do you think to this year’s Autumn Statement?

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The Chancellor delivered his first and last Autumn Statement yesterday after announcing that this annual political event will be scrapped. There were some interesting announcements for consumers yesterday – so, what do you think to this year’s Autumn Statement?

While we’ve created some dedicated guides to the Autumn Statement and how it will affect your personal finances, here are just a few of our key highlights from yesterday’s announcements.

Pension sales cold calling

Indeed an announcement to crackdown on pensions sales calls was announced in the media last Friday, but the Chancellor has now confirmed that the Government will look to ban these cold callers.

With a real danger that people could lose their life savings, hopefully this will be a key tool in the fight against scammers. Alongside this announcement the Chancellor said that the Government will look at what more can be done to tackle pension scams.

Which? welcomed the new pension freedoms when they were announced back in 2014, but it’s important to note that scammers have used these reforms to find new ways to get hold of people’s hard earned savings. So it’s vital to remember that no legitimate pension or investment firm will cold call you about either releasing cash from your pension, accessing it before you are 55 or gaining extra tax savings.

In the coming months we’ll be looking at how we can ensure that this announcement really does tackle the issues that people face with pension cold calls, and whether it can reduce the number of scam victims.

Extra money for broadband

I hope that many of you will be pleased to hear that, just like energy and water, it would appear that broadband is finally becoming recognised as an essential service. With the UK lagging behind many other countries when it comes to speed and connectivity, it’s great to hear about the extra £1bn of funding to improve broadband infrastructure.

But it’s vital that this extra investment does actually lead to a big improvement by the industry, so that we’re all getting the faster and more reliable broadband.

Hundreds of you here on Which? Conversation have shared your stories explaining not only how frustrating it can be to have a shoddy broadband connection, but that the poor service has a clear and tangible impact on you.

It’s plain and simple, we need better broadband, but when things go wrong with your broadband we think you should be getting automatic compensation.

Where markets aren’t working

The Chancellor also fired a warning shot across the bows of markets that are not working for consumers. He specifically mentioned the energy sector, stating:

‘We will look carefully over the coming months at the functioning of key markets, including the retail energy market, to make sure they are functioning fairly for all consumers.’

It’s clear that the energy industry is on notice following the recent competition inquiry. The Government has expectations on energy suppliers to demonstrate how they’re acting in the interest of consumers.

So this winter the energy industry must step up. This is why our Fair Energy Prices campaign is calling for action before the end of January for all energy companies to trial and test new ways to engage with their hard pressed customers.


If these energy companies can’t deliver a more consumer friendly energy market, then the Government is clearly ready to act.

Over to you

So do you think that this year’s Autumn Statement will make a difference to you? Were there any highlights for you from the Autumn Statement? Was there anything that you hoped the Chancellor would announce?

Comments
Profile photo of Ian
Member

Hammond was one a Used Car Salesman. But he’s ideally placed as Chancellor since he has no training in accountancy, apparently 🙂

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

I thought he was a land and property investor. It just shows how people’s back story can be refreshed to suit the times. A car dealer, eh? Man of the people. Honest Philip! Good performance on the forecourt the other day. He made sure the flags were flying and all the hatches were open. Bit of a Grey Wednesday really, though.

Member
Smike says:
26 November 2016

Good in parts. However allowing an eye watering £7.3 billion further cut in Corporation Tax, when our current rate is already very competitive in the G20 was indefensible Toryism.

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

The Intro is a little bit misleading in respect of improving communications infrastructure.

What the Chancellor actually said was “The government will invest over £1 billion by 2020-21, including £740 million through the NPIF, targeted at supporting the market to roll out full-fibre connections and future 5G communications“. So that’s not a billion for broadband; a fair wedge will be spent on upgrading mobile phone communication. “Supporting the market” is a curious phrase; I wonder what it means.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

It is confusing but we should not underestimate the importance of mobile broadband these days. 4G services have made a tremendous improvement where they are available and 5G promises much more.

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

I agree Wavechange, but mobile technology, or perhaps I should say the administrative, contractual and marketing issues that cling to it, are far from satisfactory for many people as these Conversations bear witness.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

I agree, John. The arrival of smaller companies that use the main mobile networks (MVNOs) seem to be helping to improve matters.

I was using mobile broadband long before I had a smartphone. My laptop goes everywhere and many of my posts here are made when I’m out and about. I’m happy to contribute the cost of introducing 4G and 5G services.

Perhaps the ISPs have been responsible for giving us an obsession with speed. Many, including myself, have quite modest requirements. Before I moved home I was more than happy with my copper broadband, which delivered less than 8 Mbps download. The only reason I have fibre broadband in my present house is because the copper broadband was, according to the neighbours, like fast dial-up. Those who have the highest requirements for broadband and mobile services should be contributing more towards the development of these systems.