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There was good news for some in the 2017 Autumn Budget delivered this week by Chancellor Philip Hammond.

There has been a slight increase in the national living wage, which will rise from £7.50 to £7.83 in April 2018. The tax-free personal allowance (ie how much you can earn before you have to pay tax) will rise to £11,850, and the higher-rate threshold will move up to £46,350.

In reality, this will benefit higher earners more than lower earners. If you are a basic rate tax payer, you will be £70 per year better off from next April. However, higher-rate payers will be around £270 per year better off.

Bear in mind that inflation/the cost of living is relatively high at the moment, and that anybody with a tracker mortgage will have been hit by the recent interest rate rise – it’s highly doubtful that anybody will notice the £70 per year/£5.80 per month.

There was better news – again, for the better off amongst us – when it came to abolition of stamp duty for first time buyers, up to £300,000. It’s a move to attempt to help people on the property ladder, but will have little impact on the North East. Stamp duty wasn’t payable on any property below £125,000 anyway, so very few first time buyers in the North East were paying stamp duty anyway.

To help reduce the number of empty properties, local authorities will be given the ability to charge 100% council tax premiums on empty properties, and an extra £2.7bn has been pledged to the Housing Infrastructure Fund, more than doubling it. Again, we’ll need to wait and see the impact this has on our region.

The stamp duty abolition is taking place with immediate effect: if you are unsure of the consequences, our experienced conveyancing team is here to help.