What to expect in the Autumn Statement

Ed Bowsher makes his best guesses on what we are likely to hear in George Osborne’s Autumn Statement.

With the UK economy now beginning to pick up, George Osborne's Autumn Statement should receive plenty of attention.

It will be interesting to see whether the chancellor decides to give away some pre-election goodies or whether he'll wait a while longer and focus on cutting the deficit.

Anyway, for what it's worth, here are my best guesses for what we'll hear tomorrow.

Subscribe to MoneyWeek

Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE

Get 6 issues free

Sign up to Money Morning

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Sign up

Isas are likely to be in the line of fire

There's a lot of chatter that peer-to-peer loans where savers lend direct to borrowers via a website will become eligible for Isas. This would be another big boost to this fast-growing sector.

It's also possible that Equity crowdfunding, which enables private individuals to invest in start-ups, may also become eligible for Isas. However, my hunch is that Osborne will leave it at peer-to-peer lending due to the high-risk nature of investing in start-ups.

Moving on, we may well see a lifetime allowance' introduced for Isa saving. You often read articles about Isa millionaires'; I reckon Osborne will think that £1m is far too large for a tax shelter.

An Isa lifetime allowance could be similar to the allowance for pension pots. Currently if your pension pot is worth more than £1.5 million when you retire, you will have to pay tax on the excess over £1.5 million.

I fear that an Isa lifetime allowance could be set as low as £100,000. As soon as your Isa pot went over that level, you would have to pay tax.

Such a tax could hit many long-term Isa savers. Baker Tilly has calculated that if you had saved the full Isa allowance every year since Isas began in 1999, you would have contributed £130,000 in total.

Then on top of that, you would hopefully have generated some decent growth. All of that growth would be taxed if the lifetime Isa allowance replicates the structure of the pension lifetime allowance.

Pensions a raid on tax-free lump sums?

Little change on stamp duty

There's a small chance that Osborne might decide to introduce real reforms here; more likely, the lowest threshold for paying the tax will be raised from £125,000, perhaps to £150,000.

The best bet for voter bribes energy bills

The state of our public finances

The chancellor will be keen to argue that this fall is a vindication of his economic policies, but without sounding boastful. He'll probably make a big point of saying that £105 billion is still way too high, and that only the Conservatives can be trusted to reduce the deficit further.

That's it for my predictions. We'll be back tomorrow with full coverage of all the juicy bits in Osborne's statement.

Ed has been a private investor since the mid-90s and has worked as a financial journalist since 2000. He's been employed by several investment websites including Citywire, breakingviews and The Motley Fool, where he was UK editor.


Ed mainly invests in technology shares, pharmaceuticals and smaller companies. He's also a big fan of investment trusts.


Away from work, Ed is a keen theatre goer and loves all things Canadian.


Follow Ed on Twitter or Google+.