Budget 2017 UK predictions: What you can expect from the chancellor's Autumn Budget

 
Lynsey Barber
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What pensions? Chancellor Philip Hammond is promising more for young people in the Autumn Budget (Source: Getty)

It's that time of year again when the government lays out its priorities for spending in the years ahead... yep, its the Budget.

Chancellor Philip Hammond, or "Spreadsheet Phil" as he's nicknamed, will be hoping to shore up some support for the government after a disastrous election in which the Conservatives lost a majority, and as the Brexit bumps continue.

What can we expect this afternoon? Here's what we know so far for sure and what we think we know...

House building

Fresh from being told to stop eating avocados so they can afford to buy a house, millennials are being offered something a little more grounded in reality. The government will promise to build 300,000 homes a year with several new measures to encourage homes to be built. Read more on those plans here.

Stamp duty cut

There's further indication that the housing situation for young people will be addressed as talk swirls of a cut to stamp duty for first-time buyers, reducing (slightly) the massive amount of cash needed to jump on the property ladder.

Help to buy

Hammond is expected to set out the detail of a previous promise made by Theresa May at the Conservative party conference of £10bn more for Help to Buy.

Tuition fees

Another promise made by the Prime Minister at conference to freeze fees with more detail expected on another key part of appealing to younger generations.

Pensions

In another signal that this Budget will focus on the young, pensions have taken a back seat with very little having leaked from Number 11. Investec predicts there's the possibility of a cut to the annual and lifetime pension allowances.

Self-employed VAT changes

Spreadsheet Phil may have done the sums last Budget, when he proposed to increase national insurance for the self-employed to bring it in to line with the employed,but it certainly did not add up on the front pages. Talks of targeting the good old white van man swiftly led to a u-turn.

But the chancellor hasn't forgotten the growing number of self-employed and the hole they leave in the Treasury's coffers. The change this time is expected to be a lowering of the threshold at which those set up as a business in themselves must pay VAT, from £85,000 currently.

A review earlier this month by the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) laid out the benefits and pointed toward the average rate at which VAT is paid across the EU being £20,000. The Association of the Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) have warned such a move would be a "disaster" for the 4.85m self employed.

Takeaway tax

Who doesn't carry a bag for life these days? Such is the success of introducing a charge for plastic carrier bags that the government is now considering a similar move more broadly that would add a tax to single-use plastic items such as packaging, bubble wrap and polystyrene boxes like those used for takeaways.

Tech spending

The future is digital, apparently, and building on top of the government's broad industrial strategy Hammond will announce funding for a handful of areas where the UK could become a world leader: driverless cars, artificial intelligence, 5G connectivity, electric cars and digital skills. Read more about those plans.

Fuel duty freeze

Another budget, another fuel duty freeze. After six years, no one would want to be responsible for increasing costs for consumers, making this almost a dead cert.

Diesel cars

On the other hand, discouraging diesel has already been a focus of the government, and experts expect some sort of further action. This could come in the form of a rise in fuel duty for diesel or a fully fledged diesel scrappage scheme, an idea which has already been floated.

Beer duty

The price of a pint went up for the first time in five years as a result of a shock rise in beer duty in Hammond's spring Budget earlier this year. As consumer cash is squeezed and the beer business warns of pressure, the chancellor could find a fresh freeze an easy win.

Tax break cuts for investors in early stage companies

Signals point towards a cut to the tax breaks on offer for investors in schemes such as venture capital trusts (VCT) and Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS). Those in the industry have been pushing back against such a move and will be waiting to see whether such pressure has worked in the run up to the Budget. Read more about the plans here.

Business rates shake-up

After a huge backlash to changes in business rates earlier this year, it looks like the government has heard loud and clear. Hammond is looking at a shake-up of how it is paid. Read more about the plans here.

Pay rises for nurses

Reports suggest the chancellor will offer a pay rise to nurses amid NHS spending cuts and unrest around public sector pay.

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