Today’s Spring Statement was just that – a statement of where we are so far since the November Budget.
The annual Budget, usually held in March has now moved to November and the Spring Statement is an interim report of the progress made, with a few smaller announcements too.
In November, it was announced that stamp duty for homes under £300,000 would be abolished for first time buyers and 60,000 have snapped it up so far.
People looking to buy in the future will also have more choice in London and the West Midlands because millions are being invested in building much-needed housing.
There will be 300,000 extra homes built each year until mid-2020. To help make this happen, the Housing Growth Partnership, which provides financial support for small housebuilders, will be more than doubled to £220m, so good news for them, competing against the national giants.
For savers, there were no changes announced to the current ISA rules, whilst for taxpayers their tax-free personal allowance will increase next month from £11,500 to £11,850.
£500m for T-levels and £50m to help employers roll out placements for T-level students. These are Digital, Construction, and Education & Childcare qualifications to be taught from 2020, equivalent to three A Levels.
£80m to support small businesses engaging apprenticeships.
The next business rates review will be one year sooner – in 2021.
There will be a consultation on reduced vehicle excise duty for the greenest vans on the road.
From April, the National Living Wage will rise to £7.83 per hour - £600 extra a year for full-time workers.
Manufacturing is enjoying its longest period of expansion in 50 years.
Employment has increased by 3 million since 2010 - 1,000 people finding work every day. The unemployment rate is close to a 40-year low. There is also a joint record number of women in work – 15.1 million and there will be 500,000 more people in work by 2022.
Inflation to fall from 3% to 2%, with the real wage rate rising above inflation in Q1 2019.
There will be a review into how to help the least productive businesses catch up with the most, and how to eliminate late payments to small businesses.
The forecast of 1.5% growth for 2018 was revised up from 1.4%.
Debt is forecast to fall as a share of GDP in 2019-2020, a year later than forecast in November. In 2009-10 the UK borrowed £1 in every £4 that was spent. It’s now expected that we will borrow £1 in every £18 this year.