David Gow, Director at Acumen Financial, responds to the Autumn Statement

David Gow

IN today’s highly anticipated Autumn Statement, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has delivered a mixed bag of economic measures, leaving pensioners poised as key beneficiaries. David Gow, Director at Acumen Financial Planning, provides a comprehensive reaction to the announcement, highlighting both positive strides and areas where substantial change remains pending.

A standout feature of the Autumn Statement is the Chancellor’s commitment to maintaining the triple lock on state pensions, offering pensioners a welcomed assurance. Adding to the good news, state pensions are set to see a substantial increase of 8.5% in April, positioning pensioners as among the best-placed beneficiaries of the budget.

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Gow applauds the government’s forward-looking stance in consulting on the prospect of creating ‘one pension pot for life.’ This initiative, if implemented, has the potential to reshape the pensions industry significantly. Beyond fostering healthy competition among pension providers, it could play a crucial role in improving public knowledge around pensions—a realm often fraught with misunderstanding.

However, Gow notes that while these pension-related adjustments bring promise, the broader landscape of the Autumn Statement paints a picture of incremental change. Speculations around personal tax cuts and changes to inheritance tax rules have failed to materialise, with the spotlight falling instead on National Insurance (NI) changes.

The abolition of Class 2 National Insurance, particularly beneficial for workers, including the self-employed, stands out as a positive outcome. Yet, Gow tempers expectations by highlighting that the benefits of reduced government borrowing are unlikely to directly impact the public’s pockets.

The Autumn Statement, despite its nuanced approach, falls short of delivering a barrage of ‘Christmas presents’ to the British public. While inflation rates have halved, Gow underscores that they remain remarkably high. This sustained inflation poses a challenge, eroding individual wealth, and the return to ‘normal’ inflation levels is expected to take a couple more years.

Looking ahead, Gow anticipates more substantial changes in the upcoming spring budget, particularly as a general election looms on the horizon. He encourages individuals and households to recognize that today’s announcement will impact everyone differently based on their circumstances. The key to navigating these financial shifts, according to Gow, lies in consulting a qualified financial planner. Seeking personalised advice tailored to individual goals is crucial in maximising financial outcomes in the wake of these economic developments.

As the nation prepares for potential ‘Easter eggs’ in the next year’s spring budget, the nuanced insights provided by David Gow shed light on the immediate and forthcoming implications of the Autumn Statement, offering a roadmap for individuals to navigate the complex financial landscape.

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