What the Autumn Statement means for you

Autumn Budget In this article

The budget included a rise in the National Living Wage, cuts to National Insurance and support with business rates.

Find out the key changes that could impact businesses and traders in the future. 

1. National Living Wage increase 

The National Living Wage, currently £10.42 for workers over 23, will also rise by just over £1 to £11.44 from April 2024 for workers over 21.

The government says that it will benefit around two million of the lowest paid workers.

Here are the new rates:

 Wage  Current rate  Rate from April 2023
 National Living Wage  £10.42  £11.44
 21-22-year-olds  £10.18  £11.44
 18-20-year-olds  £7.49  £7.49
 16-17-year-olds  £5.28  £6.40
 Apprentice  £5.28  £6.40
 Accommodation offset  £9.10  £9.99


2. National insurance rates cut for millions

One of the biggest changes announced in the Autumn Statement were reforms to National Insurance. The National Insurance Class 1 rate that millions of workers pay will fall from 12% to 10% from 6 January 2024. 

Meanwhile, self-employed workers who currently pay Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance will see a boost from April 2024 with Class 2 National Insurance payments abolished. The rate on Class 4 National Insurance will be also be cut from 9% to 8% from 6 April 2024.

In total, the Chancellor said this will amount to a saving of £350 a year for a self-employed worker with average profits of £28,200.

  • Want to know more? Take a look at our analysis for an explanation of how the changes will affect the amount of National Insurance you'll pay from 2024. 

3. Support with business rates 

Businesses pay business rates on the physical storefronts they use. They’re set based on a property’s ‘rateable value’ (determined by the Valuation Office Agency) – aka its rental value – and calculated based on a multiplier (set by the government). 

The small business multiplier will be frozen for the 4th year running. 

This means for 2024-25, the small business multiplier in England will remain at 49.9p, while the standard multiplier will be uprated by September CPI to 54.6.

4. Tax allowances for investment made permanent 

In the Spring budget, Jeremy Hunt announced a new policy of ‘full capital expensing’ that means every pound invested in qualifying plant and machinery can be deducted immediately from profits. This allowance will last for the next three years.

The government is now making this change permanent. 

This means after 1 April 2026, investments made by companies in qualifying plant and machinery will continue to qualify for a 100% first-year allowance for main rate assets, and a 50% first year allowance for special rate (including long life) assets. 

Cars, assets for leasing and second-hand assets will be excluded from these 100% and 50% first-year allowances. 

5. Crackdown on late payments  

From April 2024, firms bidding for government contracts over £5 million will have to demonstrate they pay their own invoices within an average of 55 days, tightening to 45 days in April 2025, and to 30 days in the coming years.

6. Pension reforms

The Chancellor announced he will 'consult' on reforms to allow people to choose their own pension scheme for automatic enrolment, rather than join their employer’s default arrangement.

Under current rules, UK companies are required to set up a pension scheme for employees. Unfortunately, this means many people will build up multiple pensions throughout their career, with a growing risk those pots become ‘lost’.

The government will now launch a 'call for evidence' on a new pension model that would simplify the current system and allow people to have one 'pension pot for life'.

  • Want to know more? Take a look at our analysis for an explanation of how the changes will affect your pension. 

7. VAT relief for energy-saving materials 

The  government will introduce legislation to expand the VAT relief available on the installation of energy-saving materials by extending the relief to additional technologies, such as water-source heat pumps, and bringing buildings used solely for a relevant charitable purpose within scope. 

These reforms will be implemented from February 2024.

Further information will be released in due course. 

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