Sponsored content: What can Suffolk expect from the Chancellor’s autumn statement?

Chancellor Philip Hammond

Chancellor Philip Hammond - Credit: PA

On November 23, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond will deliver his autumn statement.

This is the first indication we have had from government on how Brexit could affect our finances, and more importantly, the Government’s view on the future of our economy.

For that reason, this year’s autumn statement will be even more highly anticipated than usual.

There are clues out there as to what is to come and Keith Senior, director of Jacobs Allen Chartered Accountants and Chartered Tax Advisers, shared some of his forecasts.

“It will certainly be interesting this time around,” he said.

“At the Conservative party conference there were comments that indicated there could be some additional changes to the pension tax relief.

“They are looking at how the Government can rebalance the incentives.”

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He is not convinced this is the answer and said: “We need to take a broader look at what is happening with pensions. For people to make long term plans for their retirement there needs to be a long term planning arrangement, the Government can’t keep changing it but that is what happens.

“Over the last couple of years the tax relief on pension savings has changed immensely.

“It is discouraging some people from saving enough for retirement but because the Government has so much unfunded debt to cover future state pension payments, they are relying on people to save and finance themselves in retirement.

“The chancellor needs to stop tinkering with it and stop reducing the incentives to save in this way.”

“Those with lower incomes have less cash to save and are perhaps most in need of government incentives to do so. Maybe it’s time for the Chancellor to give more radical thought to offering more attractive savings opportunities for people in that category.”

This is especially important now other unofficial pension schemes such as property investment are becoming increasingly less profitable for investors.

“There are tax disincentives in property investment as well,” said Mr Senior. “From April 2017, you can claim less tax relief on the interest costs and if you are thinking of investing now you may find property doesn’t give you a decent return.”

Reiterating his call for longer term planning, Mr Senior added that the autumn statement has now evolved into a mini budget and that this process needs to be addressed.

“The autumn statement is now much more than a spending review, effectively we are seeing budget changes twice a year and that makes it difficult to make decisions that have a long term effect.

“Post Brexit, people are looking for more certainty so we need to move towards having an autumn statement that clarifies Government thinking but leaves changes for the annual Spring Budget.”

For more advice on long term financial planning, speak to the experts at Jacobs Allen.