Autumn Statement 2015: Quickfire reaction to all the key moves

Read our round-up of experts' reactions on all the announcements from 2015's Autumn Statement and Spending Review...

Economics

Nancy Curtin, Close Brothers Asset Management:

“George Osborne has not deviated from his commitment to austerity.

“Yes, he has loosened the purse strings for a much-needed boost for the defence budget and housebuilding, but he is also fully aware that he is not making as great inroads into the deficit as he would have liked. It is clear there are further cuts to come.

“This is a key reason why the prospect of interest rate rises has become more distant in the UK. While the deficit is being addressed by Osborne’s ongoing fiscal tightening, the economy’s expansion is being supported by looser monetary policy from Carney.

“The UK’s economy is in a vastly different place from the US. Yes, both economies are showing decent underlying fundamentals, such as rebounding labour markets, but policy is diverging.

“While the US can afford to loosen fiscal restraints, which in turn sets the scene for monetary policy tightening, continued austerity in the UK means we can expect monetary policy to remain more accommodative.”

Property

Jamie Morrison, HW Fisher & Company:

“With the Autumn Statement, the Government has continued its attack on residential landlords.

“In fact, with the extra 3% added to stamp duty it’s starting to feel more like an all-out offensive.

“This is a triple blow for Middle Britain seeking to invest in buy-to-let, its traditional alternative to pensions.

“As well as the previously announced restrictions on mortgage interest tax relief, landlords now have to face increased stamp duty when they buy a property and, from 2019, accelerated CGT when they sell it.

Brad Bamfield, Joint Equity:

“Buy-to-Let restricted, Right-to-Buy extended, London Help-to-Buy launched. All this fits with the government’s drive to move back to a home owning economy and is good news for the population as a whole.

“However, changes such as this causes problems in the short-term for many people who cannot make the transition easily. Help-to-Buy and other similar initiatives favour new build properties, yet the overwhelming majority of people live in older properties.

“A crucial question is who will support people when Buy-to-Let landlords sell the properties that have been hit with mortgage restrictions, the removal of tax allowances and rising cost of management all restricting returns.”

Tax

Jamie Morrison, HW Fisher & Company:

“Requiring people to pay CGT on the sale of a residential property within 30 days underlines how digitisation, for the Government, is rapidly becoming synonymous with the acceleration of tax receipts.

“Speeding up the payment of CGT could herald a more fundamental change in the future where income other than wages is also collected under a form of PAYE.”

Pensions

Hugh Nolan, JLT Employee Benefits:

“Keeping the triple lock is great news for pensioners. However, this will be paid for by the current working generations. These people won’t get such good pensions for themselves, especially with the delay in the minimum contribution for auto-enrolment.

“Therefore, this increases the intergenerational unfairness, with younger people losing out. The reality is that the working people of today will have to save a lot more to guarantee themselves a decent retirement.”

Steve Webb, (former pensions minister) Royal London:

“It is good news that the rumours of a halt to automatic enrolment have proved unfounded. A six-month delay, so that contributions rise in April 2018 and April 2019 may be a good thing. If people get pay rises and income tax cuts in April this will mean that the impact of higher pension contributions on their take-home pay will be reduced. If this leads to lower opt-out rates it would be a welcome change.

“It is also good news that a decision on pension tax relief changes has been put off until the Budget. This is an important decision and the Government needs to take time to get it right. However, they should have put on hold the short-term changes to pension tax relief due in April 2016 which will simply make the system more complex.”

Overall

Martin Tilley, Dentons Pension Management:

“A generally positive spending review. One wonders how much of these are savings that are intended to be funded by planned, but as yet unannounced, revenue from pension incentive savings?”