Leanne Macardle

Leanne Macardle

Editor
Published: 13/03/2019

The current level of economic uncertainty means there weren't many ground-breaking revelations in this year's Spring Statement, and as a result, there's little to discuss from a personal finance perspective. One of the key takeaways was that the growth forecast for the year has been cut (down from 1.6% to 1.2%, but it's set to recover thereafter), while Government borrowing has notably fallen. As for anything else you may need to know? Here's a quick summary of the relevant points:

  • A new Affordable Homes Guarantee scheme has been announced, with the Government to guarantee up to £3bn of borrowing by housing associations to support the delivery of around 30,000 affordable homes. "The Chancellor's commitment to improving affordability suggests the tide is turning for first-time buyers," commented Ishaan Malhi, CEO of online mortgage broker Trussle. "While chronic under-supply has dogged the market for some time, there is no question that this £3bn Affordable Homes Guarantee scheme will make a difference."
  • In other housing-related news, the Chancellor also announced that £717m from the £5.5bn Housing Infrastructure Fund will be used to unlock up to 37,000 new homes on sites in West London, Cheshire, Didcot, and Cambridge.
  • In the savings realm, the Government has revealed that it's set to publish a consultation on maturing Child Trust Funds (CTFs), with draft regulations to ensure that CTF accounts can retain their tax-free status after maturity.
  • Action to tackle late payment has also been announced, with audit committees set to review the issue. "The Chancellor has shown today that there is still plenty of scope to support the UK's small businesses," said the Federation of Small Businesses. "Poor payment practices by big businesses towards their smaller suppliers are rife and pernicious, leading to the closure of 50,000 small firms a year. Four out of five small businesses have been paid late, and we told the Chancellor that today was the moment to act, to tackle this scourge once and for all."

There was talk of making new homes greener (including a pledge to see the end of fossil-fuel heating systems in all new houses from 2025), reviewing the National Living Wage and scrapping paper landing cards for some countries, alongside promises to tackle knife crime and period poverty in schools.

However, there were no spring rabbits out of the hat for pensioners, savers or taxpayers in general, so it looks as though we'll need to wait for the current uncertainty to end before we see any major policy changes. All we can say is that the tax allowance rises announced in the Autumn Budget in October last year are projected to go ahead, and are due to come into effect on 6 April 2019 – this will see the personal allowance rise to £12,500, and the higher-rate threshold increase to £50,000, which could have a welcome impact on household finances.

We'll keep you updated with anything else that comes to light.

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