This year's autumn statement and spending review set out how the government plans to spend public money over the next five years.

A big u-turn on tax credit cuts was announced after pressure from the House of Lords and a new scheme to build affordable homes was unveiled as well as a few other surprises:

Welfare cuts

  • Planned cuts to tax credits have been scrapped.

  • The changes to Universal credit announced in the 2015 Summer Budget are still going ahead.

  • Housing benefit for new tenants will be capped at the same level as the private sector.

  • Pension credit and housing benefit payments will be stopped for anyone leaving the country for more than one month.


  • Local authorities will be allowed to increase council tax rates by up to 2% to pay for adult social care costs.

  • Income tax powers will be devolved to Wales, so they can make changes to rates without the need for a referendum.

  • Every individual and small business will be given a digital tax account with HMRC by the end of the decade.


  • Restrictions on shared ownership are to be removed, so more people can buy using shared ownership.

  • A new London Help to Buy scheme has been announced which will allow buyers to borrow up to 40% of the value of a new-build home interest free when they have a 5% deposit.

  • 400,000 new affordable homes will be built by 2020. Half of these will be government starter homes.

Pensions and retirement

  • The basic state pension will rise by 3.35 to 119.30 per week from next year.

  • The maximum new flat rate pension will be 155.65 per week from April, 2016.

  • A decision on cashing in private annuities will be made in December, 2015.


  • 30 hours of free childcare per week, due from 2017, will only be available to parents working at least 16 hours per week and earning less than 100,000 per year.


  • New measures to tackle compensation fraud will be introduced. It is hoped the new rules will save up to 50 a year off the cost of car insurance.

Energy bills

  • Reforms to the cost of green energy policies will save households an average of 30 per year.