Autumn Statement set for late November


Chancellor George Osborne has set the date for the Autumn Statement and the Spending Review in late November.

The Chancellor will present both on November 25.

Osborne has additionally asked Office for Budget Responsibility chairman Robert Chote to prepare an autumn forecast for the same date.

One potential announcement would be a follow up to the Treasury’s wide-ranging review into pensions tax relief.

The Government consultation on the fundamentals of taxing savings, including whether to treat pensions like Isas, will end this month. However, it remains unclear whether policymakers will pursue reform or the timescale for any potential changes.

A survey of 2,300 people published by Hargreaves Lansdown earlier this month found that the vast majority of savers believe replacing tax relief on contributions with relief on withdrawals would make them less likely to save into a pension.

This was particularly the case among younger people, with two out of three under 40s saying they would either stop or reduce saving in response to this reform. In fact, the only cohort backing an Isa-style system was those aged over 70.

But the overwhelming majority of savers across all cohorts were in favour of simplification of the pension tax regime, with the over 70 per cent of all age groups saying a flat rate system would be easier to understand than the current rules.

The firm said the research captures the opinion of investors across all tax rates and a wide range of ages.

In light of the findings, Hargreaves is calling on the Government to replace tax relief with a flat rate “retirement reward” of 33 per cent. It says this could be presented to savers as “Buy 2, get 1 free”.