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Autumn Statement 2013: What it means for you

Chancellor George Osborne speakingChancellor George Osborne's mini-budget has some good news for motorists and rail commuters, but young people face a longer wait for retirement.

An end to the paper tax disc and a rise in the retirement age were two of the major announcements in George Osborne's Autumn Statement.

The Chancellor said that drivers no longer needed to display a disc to demonstrate they have paid the current year's vehicle excise duty (VED).

This is because number plate-recognition technology is now widely used by police forces, Osborne explained.

Car tax disc scrapped

The tax disc is expected to be phased out from next October, while the government is also planning to allow motorists to pay for their road tax in monthly instalments.

There was further good news for car owners when Osborne revealed that the 2p-a-litre rise in fuel duty that had been planned for September 2014 was to be frozen.

Fuel duty freeze

The government said that a succession of fuel-duty freezes had left motorists around £22 billion better off over the course of the past three years.

A spokesman for the AA said: "Cancelling fuel duty next year tells drivers that the government is trying to help offset some of the impact of highly volatile pump prices over the past two years.

"At the pump, a 2p-a-litre increase would have been equivalent to a £1 a tank increase for small cars and £1.40 for a Mondeo family."

The spokesman added: "Up to 76 per cent of AA members have had to cut back on car use, other spending in the family budget or both.

"Let's now hope that the players in the oil and fuel markets don’t cancel out the Chancellor's generosity."

Confused.com has a handy fuel price calculator to help drivers work out how much a rise or fall in the cost of petrol and diesel will affect your finances.

Good news for rail passengers

A Virgin train in the UKRail commuters will also benefit from today's Autumn Statement.

The Chancellor promised to limit next month's annual ticket-price increases to the rate of inflation.

Over recent years, fares have generally risen much faster than prices in the rest of the economy.

It was also revealed that people will have to work significantly longer in future before becoming eligible for their state pensions.

Higher retirement age

The state retirement age is rising to 66 for both men and women by the end of the current decade.

But improvements in life expectancy and health in later life mean that further increases are now planned.

Osborne said that the retirement age would reach 68 at some point in the 2030s, and 69 during the following decade.

These amendments will largely affect people currently aged around 45 or below.

Cheaper gas and electricity bills

There was also confirmation in the Autumn Statement that the coalition would remove some of the green taxes imposed on energy suppliers in order to cut gas and electricity bills.

This is expected to save the typical household around £50 a year.

Other measures announced by the chancellor included:

  • A new tax break for married couples. This will allow one partner to pass up to £1,000 of their unused tax-free personal allowance – which will be £10,000 a year from April – to the other, provided the higher earner only pays basic-rate tax. The maximum total saving is £200.
  • Foreign owners of UK-based property will be charged capital gains tax on any profits they make when selling up.
  • The state pension will rise by £2.95 a week in April to £113.10.

Osborne also said that improvements in the UK's economic situation meant that the forecasts for annual growth over the coming years had been upgraded significantly.

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Chris Torney

Chris Torney

Chris is the former personal finance editor at the Daily Express. He's been a journalist for more than 10 years and contributes to a wide range of finance and business titles.Read more from Chris


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