George Osborne took on the role of comedian with the delivery of the Autumn Statement yesterday with pointed references to Wallace & Gromit and Life on Mars directed at the opposition benches.
Whilst we were forewarned about much of what Mr Osborne had to announce there was one surprise left for his closing flourish.
The immediate reform of SDLT – the abolition of the ‘slab system’ in favour of a progressive basis – is a change that is long overdue. This will be a welcome boost for many homebuyers as this will remove the material SDLT increase when buying a property at a value just over a threshold. However, those buying houses worth more than £1 million will lose out.
The further improvements to the reliefs for the technology sector will help many businesses and further enhance the UK’s leading position as the place to carry on innovative activity.
The proposed increase to the personal tax allowance and higher rate band, and the additional anti-avoidance measures, will no doubt appeal to the vast majority of the electorate whose votes Osborne is helping to secure.
All in all a well balanced Autumn Statement with a number of targeted initiatives which will appeal to businesses and individuals alike.