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Responses to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement

On Wednesday, 23 November the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, delivered his first Autumn Statement. For the BBC News report, click here. For key points, click here.

Child Poverty Action Group says that the small gains for 'just managing' families in the Autumn Statement 'are welcome but for most of these households, they will be dwarfed by the losses they will sustain as a result of Summer 2015 Budget social security cuts.

CPAG continues:

"The Treasury is briefing that a single parent with one child and no housing costs earning £15,000 per year will gain £170 per year from the lower Universal Credit 'taper rate' announced, but in reality the announcement simply means this lone parent will lose £3,000 a year, rather than £3,170 a year, as a result of the substantial package of cuts announced in the Summer 2015 Budget."

For CPAG's analysis of that calculation, click here.

Gingerbread Director of Policy Dalia Ben-Galim said:

"[T]he Chancellor missed a crucial opportunity to make work pay for 'just about managing' single parent families.

"While the slight reduction in the universal credit taper rate and increase to the national living wage are welcome, they are not anywhere near enough to undo the damage that has already been done. Compared to the £200 gain for single parent families from these changes, reversing the cut to the work allowance could put £800 back into the pockets of the average working single parent and well over £2,000 for others.

"Families on low wages are still facing huge losses under universal credit. The most targeted and effective way to help them would have been to reverse the cut to the work allowance. But instead the Chancellor made the choice to splurge on a personal tax allowance giveaway which helps those on higher incomes more than it does those on low incomes.

"Infrastructure is about more than roads: investing in childcare would boost productivity by raising maternal employment rates, generating £436m to the Treasury from tax revenue and welfare savings. For struggling families who may have expected the government to put their words into action, today has been yet another disappointment."

Graeme Fraser, Partner and family lawyer at Hunters incorporating May, May & Merrimans, commented:

"The fact that letting agents' fees to tenants will be banned is a good thing for families undergoing change. Many families find themselves stuck in the same household, so any assistance of this type will assist families experiencing cash flow difficulties but trying to make interim financial arrangements to improve the situation for them and particularly their children when their relationships break down.

"At the same time, the comments made from the retail sector this morning that food prices may go up by 5% in the near future is indicative that income budgets will need to be re-assessed upwards which necessarily places a tighter squeeze on cash flow.

"We anticipate that this may lead to greater pressure on divorce deals involving maintenance payments, so that the recipient (the financially weaker party who may be working part time for lower pay due to childcare commitments) would need more maintenance because of the increases in the cost of living, but at the same time the payer (the financially stronger party normally the main income earner) has less to spend. For those more wealthy, the pressure on jobs in the financial sector as multinational employers reassess their global needs following the Brexit decision would appear to be leading to a perfect storm. Expect therefore to see established financial settlements involving maintenance payments being reopened and reassessed."

24/11/16