Autumn Statement 2013: expectations

The Chancellor George Osborne will deliver his 2013 Autumn Statement later this morning. Here's our round-up of five pre-statement hot topics.

  1. Business rates increase cap
    It is widely expected that the Chancellor will cap next year's business rate rises at two per cent, instead of the 3.2 per cent rise that September's RPI figure would usually introduce. Some business groups want to see him go even further and put a freeze on current rates but the cost of this to the Treasury makes it an unlikely announcement.
  2. Energy bills green levy roll-back
    Following the recent price hikes from the UK's 'big six' energy suppliers, the Chancellor told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that the coalition Government is going to roll back green levies on energy bills. He said this will save the average customer £50 per year. We can expect the exact details to be included in today's statement.
  3. Inheritance tax for trusts
    There has been some speculation that the rules on using trusts for inheritance tax planning might be changed. Currently, assets held in trust can escape a 10-year anniversary IHT liability provided they fall below the £325,000 threshold. Assets can be spread among multiple trusts to ensure that no one trust exceeds the limit. Some commentators think the Chancellor might change the rules so that total assets held across all trusts are considered instead of the value of individual trusts.
  4. Capital gains tax on foreign property investors
    Currently, foreign owners of UK property are exempt from the 18 or 28 per cent CGT charge on the sale of a property that isn't their main home. There is a real possibility that this will be scrapped and that overseas property investors will become liable to CGT.
  5. National insurance incentive to employ young unemployed
    We already know that a new allowance will knock the first £2,000 off of an employer's national insurance contributions (NICs) bill from April 2014. It's estimated that this will lift 450,000 of the UK's smallest employers out of employer NICs liability. But the Chancellor might also be preparing a further NI incentive, possibly in the form of a reduced rate of employer NICs when taking on an unemployed person under the age of 25.

We'll publish further news stories later today, summarising the Chancellor's headline announcements for business and personal finances.