Autumn Statement 2014 round-up: What we know and what to expect

 
Guy Bentley
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George Osborne will look to boost Tory election chances (Source: Getty)

It is well known that chancellors use their autumn statements to win favor with the electorate and set a policy minefield for the opposition, and this year is shaping up to be no exception.

Ever the strategist, George Osborne will look to announce measures to win over key voters and promote the government's message on the economy and public service reform.

We can expect a host of small measures and giveaways to certain interest groups as well as big-picture announcements.

However, there could also be modest upgrades to GDP forecasts. Here's a brief round-up of what we expect to be in Osborne's speech tomorrow.

PENSIONS

We already know the government will end the 55 per cent tax charge on inherited pensions, but the chancellor is expected to announce more information surrounding the radical pension reforms he announced in the March Budget. There could also be changes to pensions tax relief and with interest rates still at rock bottom, Osborne is under pressure to do more for savers.

NHS

The NHS is set to receive an extra £2bn for front line services from next April. The NHS budget has been ring-fenced throughout this parliament but is still facing a big fiscal squeeze as demand continues to rise. Labour has promised to match Osborne's commitment and spend an additional £2.5bn to be raised through a mansion tax.

ROADS

The chancellor's enthusiasm for infrastructure projects showed itself again over the weekend as he prepared the ground for his speech with the announcement of a £15bn plan to transform Britain's roads. The plan, which will last six years, was welcomed by John Longworth, director general of the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC), who said that infrastructure has too long “suffered due to piecemeal investment and constant changes to government policy”.

FUEL

George Osborne is expected to scrap the Fair Fuel Stabiliser which will prevent a rise in petrol prices by 1p next March.

PROPERTY

There could be further details on proposals to extend capital gains tax to non-UK residents who sell residential property in the UK. It is unlikely there will be an overhaul of inheritance tax allowance (IHT), but IHT on property trusts could be simplified. Rumors are also flying that there could be changes to stamp duty to help those on more modest incomes buy homes.

PERSONAL ALLOWANCE

As announced in an earlier budget, the personal allowance will rise from £10,000 to £10,500. A basic rate taxpayer will save an estimated £100 a year, while a higher rate taxpayer will save £184.

UNIVERSITY LOANS

Osborne may reveal new loans for university students who want to do a one-year Master's after their graduation.

TAX EVASION

As parties scramble to find extra cash to pay down the deficit, some are expecting the chancellor to introduce a "strict liability" rule. This would mean that anyone who fails to declare taxable income that's generated outside the UK would be acting illegally.

BUSINESS RATES

Osborne has been hinting at reform to business rates and has been inundated with suggestions about how to go about it.

Writing to the chancellor, CBI’s director-general John Cridland said business rates should be limited to two per cent next year.

Cridland said that it would be "a small price to pay to take the pressure off business and stimulate investment".

AIR PASSENGER DUTY

The chancellor is expected to abolish Air Passenger Duty on children's flights.

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