Court of Protection

Autumn Statement 2023

The much-discussed Autumn Statement was given today by the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.

22 Nov 2023

Expectations of tax reductions were high as the level of Government borrowing has reduced, and with an election likely within the next year it was expected that voter-pleasing announcements would be made.

Earlier today the Chancellor said that, “after eight months of work, it’s got 110 different measures to help grow the British economy.”  The headlines are:

  • Benefits – To increase by 6.7% in April 2024, in line with September’s inflation figures.  Increase in Local Housing Allowance to the 30th percentile of local market rents.  Sanctions to be introduced for those not looking for work, but encouragement for those seeking work.
  • Pensions – Triple lock to remain, so State Pension to increase by 8.5% from April 2024.  New employees will be able to request that pension contributions are paid to an existing pension pot already held by the employee.
  • National Insurance – National Insurance main rate of 12% reduced to 10% from January 6th 2024.  Applies to 28 million workers.  For the self-employed Class 2 National Insurance contributions to be abolished and Class 4 National Insurance contributions cut by 1% to 8% from April 2024.  Applies to over 2 million self-employed people.
  • Income Tax – No change.
  • National Living Wage – Will increase from £10.42 per hour to over £11.44 per hour from April 2024.
  • Capital Gains Tax – No change.
  • Inheritance Tax – No change.
  • Stamp Duty – No change.
  • Tobacco Duty – Duty to increase by 10%
  • Alcohol Duty – No increase – all duties frozen to 01/08/2023 and lower duties in pubs compared to retail to be maintained.
  • Business investments – Expensing regime (currently set at three years and due to expire in 2026) where companies can deduct the cost of investments in machinery and equipment from corporation tax bills to be made permanent.
  • Business rates – Standard multiplier to increase in line with inflation, but freeze to small business multiplier for a further year.  Also, extension to 75% discount for retail, hospitality and leisure for a further year.
  • The Chancellor has pledged £7m to charitable organisations to tackle antisemitism in schools and universities.

M&P Commentary

Samantha Hamilton, head of the Court of Protection department at Mullis & Peake LLP says:

“Many changes were predicted, with some features being announced ahead of the statement.

The most significant change is to National Insurance, which will benefit a large number of workers.  This echoes the Chancellor’s mantra of “making work pay”, but there may be an impact on those on incapacity benefits.  Sanctions for those seen as not participating in back to work efforts could see benefits stopped.  As a Court of Protection deputy I manage the finances of many in receipt of benefits and it is hoped that the target of the sanctions are those who choose not to work rather than those who genuinely cannot work.”

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