Spending review: What it means for you

In his 2015 Autumn Statement and Spending Review, Chancellor George Osborne laid out his vision for government spending and taxation over the coming parliament - including new plans on welfare, pensions and home ownership.

Here's what it could mean for you:

Welfare/tax credit claimants

The news that George Osborne's controversial tax credit cuts would be scrapped was greeted with cheers by much of the Commons - the measures were expected to adversely affect three million Britons, with an average loss of around £1,100 a year.

Some features of the reforms that will remain, however - the decision to restrict child tax credits to the first two children in a family, and the amount by which a claimant's income can increase each year before their tax credits are cut.

That threshold will still be reduced from £5,000 to £2,500, and is expected to raise approximately £170 million.

Nonetheless, the Chancellor sticking with his promise to reduce the overall budget by £12 billion, the decision to abandon a move saving around £4 billion raises the question: where will that money come from instead?

One suggestion from the think-tank Demos is that the savings will be made in the longer term through the introduction of the Universal Credit - meaning families' entitlements could fall when the transition takes place in the next two years.

Alongside the tax credit measures, there was also a cap on housing benefit for new social tenants at the same level as those in the private rented sector.

Housing benefits and pension credit payments will also be stopped for people who leave the country for more than one month.


The state pension is to increase to £119.30 per week. Credit: PA

The pre-announced decision to raise the basic state pension by 2.9% means pensioners will receive a new total of £119.30 per week from April 2016.

However, as ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi notes, the state additional pension is based on the CPI rate of inflation, currently negative at -0.1%.

Meanwhile, local councils were given the power to raise council tax by up to 2% to raise further funds for social care provision for the elderly - with the Chancellor estimating this would boost budgets by £2 billion.

First-time buyers

The government has promised 400,000 new homes in England. Credit: PA

The Conservative government has made no secret of its desire to see an increase in home ownership, and today's statement marked another step toward that goal - with a doubling of the annual housing budget to £2 billion and a commitment to build 400,000 new homes in England.The measures will include 200,000 new starter homes with a 20% discount for first-time buyers under 40, as well as 135,000 Help to Buy shared ownership homes.

On top of that was an extension of the Right to Buy scheme, with a pilot allowing tenants at five housing associations to buy their homes from midnight.

Public land suitable for 160,000 homes will also be made available in a bid to stimulate building and tackle the housing crisis.

Would-be homeowners in the capital were also given a boost with a new London Help to Buy - allowing first-time buyers with a 5% deposit to access borrowing of up to 40% on new-build properties in the city.


Landlords and owners of second properties are to face extra taxes on purchases. Credit: PA

Landlords and those with multiple properties were handed the bill for much of the Chancellor's help for first-time buyers - with the announcement of a 3% Stamp Duty increase on purchases of additional or buy-to-let properties coming into effect in April.

Big businesses

Big businesses will be levied £11.6bn over this parliament. Credit: PA

Those arguably taking the biggest hit are businesses, which will be levied 0.5% of their pay bill from April 2017 - raising an estimated £11.6 billion over this parliament.

The Chancellor said the move - only effective for employers with pay bills over £3 million (around 2% of all UK businesses) - would raise £3 billion and eventually fund three million apprenticeships.

Public sector workers

Police have been protected from further cuts. Credit: PA

As expected, there appeared to be more pain for public sector workers, particularly civil servants, in the Chancellor's statement - with a raft of huge cuts announced to "resource budgets".

Some departments are expecting to see staffing reductions of 20% or more, a source told ITV News.

While the cap on nursing places was lifted, the Chancellor did announce that bursaries for trainee nurses would be replaced with loans - a move he said would allow the creation of 10,000 new nursing placements this Parliament.

One area of public service that was protected from further cuts, however, was the police force - with the Chancellor making the surprise announcement that police budgets would remain the same in real terms until the end of the decade.


Motorists were spared an increase in fuel duty. Credit: PA

Osborne's statement provided a welcome reprieve from any increases in fuel duty, despite speculation that a tax hike might be introduced to plug the revenue gap caused by falling oil prices.

The Chancellor also gave motorists a small reason to cheer with the promise to end insurance payouts for minor whiplash claims - a move he said would allow providers to cut car premiums by up to £50 a year.

However, there was bad news for diesel drivers, with a levy on cars using the fuel extended until 2021 - adding an extra £400 a year from April 2016, according to analysts PwC.

Students and graduates

Students and graduates are both set to be hit. Credit: PA

Recent graduates were among the hidden losers in today's Spending Review and Autumn Statement - with the bad news not mentioned in the Chancellor's speech and tucked away on page 93 of the Treasury document.

Those who took student loans out after 2012 will see the threshold above which they are repaid frozen at £21,000 per year until April 2021, while the discount rate on the payments is cut from 2.2% above inflation to 0.7%.

The move means more than two million graduates will have to pay around £300 a year more than expected in the early stages of their career, and, as Business Editor Joel Hills explains, comes on top of changes this summer which turned maintenance grants into loans that have to be paid back.