According to an Aussie millionaire, the reason why I will struggle to own a house is the occasional avocado on toast that I either buy for £1.19 at Morrisons or, if I’m eating out, for a couple of quid more at Spoons. Thankfully for us who have an Instagram presence to maintain, the Chancellor Philip Hammond is not so out of touch with reality, as isn’t Sajid Javid who came to our defence. So it’s no surprise that this Budget is in everybody’s mind because of the Stamp Duty policy, which removes it altogether for 80% of first-time buyers. Even in London, and in particular Croydon, the policy is going to cut it significantly. It comes together with other policies about housing that aim at increasing the supply, including Local Authorities being able to charge a 100% premium on the council tax on empty properties, £44bn worth of capital funding to boost housing supply to 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s and a review of why there is a gap between the number of planning permissions given and the houses built in order to address that. The policy had been criticised by the OBR, but it seems to have been well received by literally everyone else, although many recognise it is not a cure-all for a bigger problem by itself.
(Source: The Telegraph)
Second on the list of policies that affect my generation more directly (and of course I generalise), are the increasing in the National Minimum Wage and the Income Tax Threshold. While the NMW was a controversial policy when first introduced, it has proven not to have caused the issues that were predicted and successive Conservative Chancellors have raised it, this time by an ulterior 4.4%. Yet, without the tax break that comes from raising the tax threshold people wouldn’t see much of a difference, as the money goes to the tax man instead of them. While many if not most people my age are in jobs which pay a lot more than the NMW, many have jobs which don’t for whatever reason (paying maintenance during post-graduate studies or being a mature student, starting a business on the side, starting a family, simply enjoying working in retail etc), and I find the arguments raised by a certain section of the party that people over a certain age shouldn’t be still in low pay jobs to be narrow-minded, so I believe these policies to be welcome news even past the age of 21.
A policy that instead targets us by age and not by situation is the “Millennial” Railway Card. From Spring 2018 I will be able to enjoy 1 more year of cheaper train travel, which comes in handy when you’re in a long-distance relationship, or you suffer from wanderlust, which are both fairly common traits of our generation, with the Internet bringing us all together in ways we never thought possible. Also, if you’re anything like me, you’d welcome the tax freeze on wine (and other non-low quality alcoholic drinks, as those will see an increase).
On a more personal level, as a Spoonie who is self-employed and the director of a limited company, I’m happy to see an increase in the NHS budget. I still have my opinions on what is the best format for long term sustainability in healthcare provision, but while we get there it’s good to see a bit more of a Keynesian approach. This is made possible by the economic growth by 15.8% since 2010, and the deficit was also cut by 3/4. I am also happy to see measures for small businesses which show that this government is on the side of those of us who take risks to create employment for ourselves and for others, even though I have registered for VAT voluntarily before reaching the threshold that hasn’t been lowered in the end, and in fact I’m about to send in the first ever VAT return which is a scary prospect!
You can find the Autumn Budget 2017 in full here.