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Autumn Statement: 10 key takeaways

We bring you 10 features in George Osborne's Autumn Statement, which saw a record upgrade in the GDP forecast, the largest ever clamp down on tax avoidance and a stamp duty relief boost for ETFs.  

Economic forecasts improve

Osborne confirmed that the UK economy is growing at a faster pace than had previously been expected. The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has doubled its GDP forecast to 1.4% in 2013 from 0.6% back in March’s Budget.

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State pension age rises brought forward

The Chancellor said the state pension age will increase to 68 by mid-2030s and 69 in the late 2040s. The state pension, meanwhile, will rise by £2.95 a week from April of next year.

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ETF stamp duty axed

Stamp duty charges on the purchases of shares in exchange traded funds will be scrapped from April of next year for funds domiciled in the UK.

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£9 billion tax evasion crackdown

Osborne is targeting £9 billion over the next five years by cracking down on tax evasion, avoidance and aggressive tax planning. Companies and wealthy individuals avoiding tax are all in the firing line, with a number of loopholes set to be closed.

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Foreign property owners to pay CGT

Capital gains tax is to be introduced on future gains made by non-residents selling UK residential property from April 2015. A consultation on how to introduce the new charge will start next year.

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Business support

Business rate increases will be capped to 2%, while small business rate relief will be extended for another year, in an attempt to help businesses expand and create jobs.

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Shale gas tax breaks

A new tax relief for the shale gas industry was confirmed, reducing the amount of tax paid on a portion of a company’s profits from 62% to 30% as the government tries to encourage the exploitation of onshore gas.

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Social investment tax relief

The government is aiming to stimulate investment in social enterprises by providing tax relief on investment in social impact bonds. A road map for social investment is set to be published in January 2014.

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Married couples receive tax allowance transfer

Married couples and civil partners will be able to transfer up to £1,000 of their personal tax allowance between each other from April 2015, assuming neither is a higher-rate tax payer.

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Welfare spending to be capped

A cap on total welfare spending will start in 2015. The basic state pension and cyclical unemployment benefits, such as Jobseeker’s Allowance, will be excluded from the cap which will be decided in the spring of next year.

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