Published on Wednesday 23 November 2016 in Van News
This year's Autumn Statement contains good news for drivers and families alike with some surprising announcements in the shape of boosts to housebuilding and sorting out transport links. Vanarama reports.
In his first post-Brexit Autumn Statement, Chancellor Philip Hammond – or "Spreadsheet Phil" as he's been nicknamed – was always going to be under pressure to deliver good news, while also giving us a realistic view of our future, but he has!
All-in-all there's plenty to be pleased about, because PM Theresa May's promises to help people and build "an economy that works for everyone" seem to be being delivered on. Let's have a look at the ones affecting van drivers and their families.
Good news for van drivers
Once again, the fuel duty rise has been cancelled, which will save the average van driver £350 a year and the average car driver £150.
As part of a £23 billion investment in innovation and infrastructure, Mr Hammond announced a £1.1 billion extra investment in English local transport networks, and an extra £220m to reduce traffic pinch points and sort out the worst stretches of the UK's roads.
There will also be a reform of whiplash compensation claims that aims to reduce motor insurance premiums by up to £40 – although Insurance Premium Tax is to rise in June 2017 to 12%, up from 10%.
Good news for families
The Chancellor revealed a £2.3 billion housing infrastructure fund, which he promises will help provide 100,000 new homes in high-demand areas, and a further £1.4 billion to build 40,000 extra affordable homes.
We also heard that from September 2017, parents working more than 16 hours a week and earning less than £100,000 a year will be able to claim an additional 15 childcare hours, on top of the existing hours already available.
The Chancellor said there will also be a ban placed on the steep up-front fees charged by letting agents in England – this will take effect "as soon as possible".
Good news for savers
There's a new Lifetime Individual Savings Account available for 18-40s available from April 2017. You can save up to £4,000 a year, and the government will add a 25% bonus if the money is used to buy a home or as a pension from the age of 60.
And we have a new savings bond with an interest rate around the 2.2% mark. Savers can put in a maximum investment of £3,000 for three years – current equivalent bonds have an interest rate of just 1.62%.
Also in the statement
The National Living Wage is set to increase to £7.50 an hour from April 2017, and the income tax threshold will rise to £11,500 (with a promise to raise it to £12,500 by 2020).
Cold calls offering exotic investment opportunities to people cashing in their pension pots will be banned, and could be enforced with fines of up to £500,000.
Mr Hammond also announced that the tax savings on salary sacrifice and benefits-in-kind schemes operated by some, but not all, companies will be stopped. However, the most popular uses of salary sacrifice schemes, such as for ultra-low emission cars, pensions, childcare and cycling, will remain unaffected.
It's fair to say that today's announcements look good on paper, and if carried out properly will massively benefit workers and families across the UK. It's also fair to say that Theresa May and Philip Hammond have a lot of work on their hands to deliver on their promises.
But, if these changes make life just that little bit easier for hard-working families over the next few years, then the post-Brexit worries might start to disappear – the ball is firmly in their court.