On 25 November, chancellor George Osborne delivered the 2015 Autumn Statement and Spending Review. Below is a summary of all the key announcements impacting employee benefits:
- Osborne announced that the next two phases of minimum pension contribution rate increases under auto-enrolment will be pushed back to coincide with the tax year.
- The government will continue to consider what action, if any, will be taken around salary sacrifice arrangements. It will gather further evidence, including from employers, to inform its approach.
- The upper income limit for parents to take advantage of the government’s new tax-free childcare scheme is to be lowered from £150,000 to £100,000 a year.
- The government will retain the diesel supplement in company car tax. There will be a 3-percentage point differential between diesel cars and petrol cars from April 2016 to 2021, when EU-wide testing procedures will ensure new diesel cars meet air quality standards under strict real world driving conditions.
- The government will undertake a review of sickness absence in the public sector.
- The Finance Bill 2016 will introduce measures to simplify the tax rules for employee share schemes. These technical changes will streamline and simplify aspects of the tax rules for tax-advantaged and non-tax-advantaged employee share schemes.
- The government has confirmed that it is to remove the barriers to creating a market for secondary annuities market to enable individuals to sell on their existing annuity income stream.
- Osborne has confirmed that the government will keep the triple lock, with the basic state pension rising to £119.30 a week from April 2016. The single-tier pension rate has been set at £155.65 a week. This will be available to those reaching pensionable age from April next year.