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Julian Bray provides: Opinion, comment, forward thinking speculation, keynote presentations and workshops for corporate organisations on Travel, Cruise & Aviation: conflict zones, terrorist impact, cybercrime and DoS issues, drone (UAV) issues, safety (black boxes, emergencies), airline operations, aviation finance, political implications, and all forms of incident risk.

He operated at board level with several airline and aviation groups, including Alitalia, British Island Airways, British Airways, Galileo , British Aerospace, Skyways, former CEO City firm Leadenhall Assoc. (PR WEEK TOP 150) Founder CNS City News Service. Director NTN Television News (joint co. with ITV Wales TWW) Debretts People 2017 and featured in launch edition of the PRWeek Black Book. Investigative Journalist and Broadcaster.

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Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Autumn Statement Main Points Overview

  • OBR lowers growth forecast  by 2017 just 2.8%
  • Borrowing Forecasts revised  £108 billion, but could fall to £31 by 2018 but figured disputed
  • OBR on course to meet fiscal mandate 
  • Debt target missed 
  • Net debt will not fall until 2017
  • Cuts to continue to 2017/18
  • Departmental budgets reduced by 1%
  •  Corporation tax cut to 21% to April 2014
  • Working Age Benefits and Credits uprated by 1 %  ie they will fall in real terms
  • State Pension Uprated in line with inflation 
  • Personal Income Tax allowance to rise to approx £9,040 per annum
  • Higher rate threshold up 1%
  • Higher rate pension capped at £40k
  • Fuel energy January 3p rise in fuel duty cancelled outright!
  • Shale Gas incentive  - new Quango - the Office for Unconventional Gas 
  • £5 billion for investment  in infrastructure 

Departmental Expenditure Limits in 2013-14 and 2014-15 - Departmental resource budgets reduced by 1 per cent in 2013-14 and 2 per cent in 2014-15. This measure will save £980 million in 2013-14 and £2.4 billion in 2014-15 that can be reprioritised to fund additional investment in infrastructure and support for businesses. The reduction is applied to current control totals in each of 2013-14 and 2014-15, and so is not cumulative.

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs will also be exempt from the reduction. This will enable them to continue to focus on tackling tax avoidance and evasion and to contribute AME savings. In addition HMRC will receive £155 million, made up of additional funding and reinvestment, to fund the range of measures announced at this Autumn Statement to increase compliance and revenue to the Exchequer, expand the online delivery of services to customers and tackle tax credit error, fraud and debt. Taken together, these measures will enable HMRC’s target for additional revenues to be increased to £22 billion in 2014-15, £2 billion higher than in 2010-11 and reduce losses from tax credits by more than £1 billion over the next four years.

Spending assumption for 2017-18 - The Government has set a fiscal assumption that TME in 2017-18 will continue to fall at the same rate as over the Spending Review 2010 period. This assumes that TME in 2017-18 will be £4.6 billion lower than if held flat in real terms from 2016-17 onwards.

Capital spending -  £5.5 billion of additional capital investment over the spending review period.

Council tax – As announced on 8 October 2012, the Government will set aside £450 million to fund a grant for 2013-14 and 2014-15 to local authorities in England who freeze or reduce their council tax in 2013-14. The devolved administrations will receive additional funding based on the Barnett formula.

Official Development Assistance – The allocation of ODA will be adjusted in line with the OBR’s revised growth forecast, so that the UK spends 0.56 per cent of GNI on ODA in 2012, and 0.7 per cent in 2013 and thereafter.

Spectrum receipts – The commercial auction for 4G spectrum, being overseen by Ofcom, is due to be completed by March 2013. Following formal assessment, based on independent analysis of the likely valuation of spectrum receipts by the OBR, the spectrum receipts will be reflected in this Autumn Statement at £3.5 billion.

Special Reserve – The Government will reduce the Special Reserve provision to reflect the progress made by the Afghans in taking on responsibility for their security. This is funding held over and above the Ministry of Defence budget. The cost of operations will continue to be paid on the same basis.

Income tax: higher rate threshold – The Government will adjust the basic rate limit for income tax such that the higher rate threshold above which individuals pay income tax at 40 per cent increases by 1 per cent in 2014-15 and 2015-16. The upper earnings limit and upper profits limit for NICs will increase to stay in line with the higher rate threshold.

Capital gains tax: annual exempt amount – The annual increase in the annual exempt
amount for capital gains tax will be 1 per cent for 2014-15 and 2015-16.

Inheritance tax – The inheritance tax nil rate band will rise by 1 per cent in 2015-16.

Income tax: personal allowance – The Government will raise the tax-free personal allowance by a further £235 to £9,440 in 2013-14 and pass on equal gains from this further increase to higher rate taxpayers, who receive a personal allowance.

Income tax: capping unlimited reliefs – As announced at Budget 2012, the Government will cap all previously unlimited income tax reliefs at the greater of £50,000 or 25 per cent of an individual’s income. Charitable reliefs will be exempt from this cap.

Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme – As announced at Budget 2011, the Government will introduce a Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme from April 2013. Following consultation and the passage of the Small Donations Bill through Parliament, policy adjustments have been made to this scheme to increase the limit per donation to £20, allow some charities meeting certain conditions to access the scheme on more than £5,000 of donations, and concerning the eligibility criteria and ongoing conditions regarding Gift Aid.

Capital gains tax: employee shareholder status – As announced on 8 October 2012, the Government has introduced a new employee shareholder status. Employee shareholders will have different employee rights to other employees and will receive a minimum of £2,000 of shares. The Government will introduce legislation to exempt gains on up to £50,000 of shares acquired by employees taking up the new employee shareholder status from capital gains tax from April 2013.

Restricting pensions tax relief – From 2014-15 the Government will reduce the lifetime allowance for pension savings from £1.5 million to £1.25 million and the annual allowance from £50,000 to £40,000. The Government will offer a fixed protection regime to individuals to prevent any retrospective tax charges from reducing the lifetime allowance. The Government also wishes to offer a personalised protection regime for individuals, in addition to fixed protection, and will discuss the feasibility of this with interested parties in the coming months.

Benefits uprating – Most working age benefits will be uprated by 1 per cent for three years from April 2013. This will apply to: Jobseeker’s Allowance; Employment and Support Allowance; Income Support; applicable amounts for Housing Benefit; Maternity Allowance; Statutory Sick Pay; Statutory Maternity Pay; Statutory Paternity Pay; and Statutory Adoption Pay. This excludes the disability, carers and pensioners premia in these benefits and the support component in Employment and Support Allowance, which will continue to be uprated by prices. Child Benefit will be frozen in April 2013, as set out in the June Budget 2010, but will be uprated by 1 per cent for two years from April 2014.

Tax credits uprating – Uprating by 1 per cent will also extend to the Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit (excluding disability elements). The couple, lone parent and child elements will be uprated by 1 per cent for three years from April 2013. The basic and 30 hour elements will not be uprated in 2013-14 as set out in Spending Review 2010 but will be uprated by 1 per cent in 2014-15 and 2015-16. All disability elements will continue to be uprated by prices each year.

Universal Credit – Parameters for Universal Credit have been set. These parameters will be confirmed in regulations on 10 December 2012. The earnings disregards will be set for April 2013 and increased by 1 per cent in April 2014 and April 2015.

Housing Benefit – In April 2013 Local Housing Allowance rates will be uprated as previously announced. In April 2014 and April 2015 Local Housing Allowance rates will be uprated by current policy, subject to a 1 per cent cap, with exemptions for rates in those areas in which rent increases are highest. 30 per cent of the potential savings from this measure will be reserved to fund the exemptions in these two years.

Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) – Temporary changes to SMI are extended until 2015-16 for working-age SMI claims. The waiting period will remain at 13 weeks and the working-age capital limit will remain at £200,000 until 31 March 2015.

Collection of tax credits debt – The Government will conduct a payment-by-results pilot on outsourcing the collection of tax credits debt.

Tax credits debt reduction: recovery of old debts from current awards – The Government will introduce an information technology (IT) change to allow the recovery of old tax credits debt through an individual’s current tax credits award.

Tax credits error and fraud: childcare costs – The Government will require tax credits claimants who report high childcare costs to provide evidence to HMRC.

Tax credits error and fraud: Child Tax Credit payments for 16-19 year olds – The Government will require annual parental certification that a child aged over 16 is in Full Time Non Advanced Education or Advanced Training qualifying them for the continuation of Child Tax Credit payments until the age of 19.

Corporation tax: main rate – The Government will reduce the main rate of corporation tax by a further 1 percentage point to 21 per cent from April 2014. The rate will fall from 24 per cent to 23 percent from 1 April 2013, as announced at Budget 2012.

Corporation tax reliefs for the creative sector – The Government announced at Budget 2012 that, following consultation on design, it would introduce corporation tax reliefs for the video games, animation and high-end television industries from April 2013, subject to state aids approval. Under these reliefs, qualifying companies will be able to choose between an additional deduction at a rate of 100 per cent of enhanceable expenditure or a payable tax credit at a rate of 25 per cent of qualifying losses surrendered.

Annual Investment Allowance – The Government will increase the Annual Investment Allowance limit from £25,000 to £250,000 for two years for all qualifying investments in plant and machinery made on or after 1 January 2013.

Large shallow-water gas field allowance – As announced in July 2012, the Government will introduce a new £500 million field allowance for large shallow-water gas fields.

Allowance for investment in existing fields – As announced in September 2012, the Government will introduce a field allowance of up to £50 per tonne of expected incremental reserves for additional investment in existing fields relating to projects with high unit costs. The maximum available allowance for a project or projects forming part of a wider development will be £250 million, or £500 million for projects forming part of a wider development in fields where companies are paying Petroleum Revenue Tax. This allowance is expected to bring new investment and jobs to Scotland and the UK as a whole.

Bank Levy – The Government will set the full rate of the Bank Levy at 0.130 per cent from 1 January 2013.

VAT: static holiday caravans – Budget 2012 announced a change to the VAT treatment of static holiday caravans. Following consultation, a 5 per cent reduced rate of VAT will apply to static holiday caravans and large touring caravans from 6 April 2013.

VAT: hot takeaway food – Budget 2012 announced a change to the VAT legislation for hot takeaway food. The change was implemented on 1 October 2012. Following consultation, food remains zero-rated if it is cooling down naturally, provided that it is not heated to order, kept hot, provided in packaging which retains heat or is specifically designed for hot food, or marketed as hot.

VAT: alterations to protected buildings – Budget 2012 announced that, from 1 October 2012, approved alterations to protected buildings would be liable to VAT at the standard rate. Following consultation, the transitional arrangements were amended to make them more generous.

VAT: self-storage – Budget 2012 announced that, from 1 October 2012, all supplies of self-storage would be liable to VAT at the standard rate. Following consultation, the Government amended the Capital Goods Scheme for providers of self-storage so that small firms would be able to benefit from the scheme in the same way as their larger competitors.

Small Business Rate Relief – The Government will extend the temporary doubling of the Small Business Rate Relief for a further 12 months from 1 April 2013.

Empty property rates – Subject to consultation, the Government will exempt all newly built commercial property completed between 1 October 2013 and 30 September 2016 from empty property rates for the first 18 months, up to the state aids limits.

Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC): simplification – The Government will simplify the CRC energy efficiency scheme from 2013 and the Performance League Table will be abolished. The Department of Energy and Climate Change will publish details of these simplifications. The Government will review the effectiveness of the CRC in 2016. This review will consider whether the CRC remains the appropriate policy to meet industrial energy efficiency and carbon reduction objectives, and will consider alternative approaches that could achieve the same objectives. The tax element of the CRC introduced at Spending Review 2010 will be a high priority for removal when the public finances allow.

Carbon Reduction Commitment: allowance price – The forecast allowance price remains unchanged at £12 per tonne of carbon dioxide in 2013-14 and £16 per tonne of carbon dioxide in 2014-15. From 2015-16 onwards, the allowance price will increase in line with the RPI.

Fuel duty – In June 2012 the Government announced that the fuel duty increase planned for 1 August 2012 would be deferred to 1 January 2013.

Fuel duty – To support motorists and businesses with the high cost of fuel, the Government will cancel the 3.02 pence per litre fuel duty increase that was planned for 1 January 2013. The Government will move the 2013-14 increase planned for April 2013 to 1 September 2013. There will be only one fuel duty increase in 2013. For the remainder of the Parliament, subsequent increases will take effect on 1 September each year instead of 1 April.

Cash basis for calculating tax – The Government confirms introduction of a new cash basis for small, unincorporated businesses to calculate their tax from April 2013. Businesses with receipts of up to £77,000 will be eligible and will be able to continue to use the cash basis until receipts reach £154,000.

Agreement between the UK and Switzerland – The Government is today reflecting the benefit of the UK-Switzerland agreement in the public finances following the passing of the agreement by both the Swiss and UK Parliaments. The additional revenues reflect reclaimed tax on money hidden in Switzerland.

Enhanced tax information sharing agreement between the UK and the United States of America (US) – The Government will legislate to implement the UK-US Agreement to Improve International Tax Compliance and Implement the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.

Large business tax risks – The Government will strengthen HMRC’s risk assessment capability by enhancing its ability to analyse risks posed in relation to large multinational companies and increasing its transfer pricing specialist resources.

Tax avoidance schemes – The Government will increase HMRC’s resources to accelerate its resolution of avoidance schemes, including long-standing avoidance schemes involving partnership losses.

HMRC Affluent Unit – As announced by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury in  September 2012, the Government will expand HMRC’s Affluent Unit, extending its remit to taxpayers with a net worth of £1 million.

Personal tax avoidance and evasion – The Government will increase HMRC’s resources to tackle offshore evasion and avoidance of inheritance tax using offshore trusts, bank accounts and other entities.

Expanding debt collection capacity – The Government will invest in expanding debt collection capacity within HMRC in order to deliver additional revenue to the Exchequer in 2012-13 and 2013-14.

New Enterprise Allowance – The Government has extended the New Enterprise Allowance scheme so that jobseekers can now access self-employment support from day one of their Jobseeker’s Allowance claim.

Contributor: Media Expert, Aviation, Politics & Travel Commentator, Broadcaster & Journalist Julian Bray NUJ, EQUITY UK Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile: 07944 217476 ISDN2 +44(0)1733 555 319 (UK HOME ISDN 01733 555319) G722/APT-X Dual Codecs SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK
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