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Autumn Budget 2021: The key points from Rishi Sunak's speech

We take you through the major measures announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in his 2021 Autumn Budget speech - and how they will affect your money.

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The autumn Budget has announced the Government's plans for spending and taxes for the next year.

Winners from the Chancellors speech are Champagne and fruit cider drinkers - who will see taxes fall on their favoured tipples - while fans of fortified wines will pay more.

Switching your current account can be a winning move too with some banks offering a cash switching incentive.

Pubs saw two separate tax breaks - the first on business rates, and the second on the news that the tax on draft pints would fall by about 3p.

However, there was no let off for smokers - who will see tobacco taxes rise again.

There was also good news for minimum wage workers - who will see rises in their take home pay from April on - while universal credit claimants were told they could keep more of the money they earnt too.

Rishi Sunak's speech also included his two key fiscal rules - that borrowing should fall as a percentage of the economy and the government would only borrow cash to invest in projects that will help the economy grow.

But that was far from all that was included by the Chancellor. Here are the key measures that will affect your money:

Tax rises

National insurance will be rising from April next year.

That will see an extra 1.25 percentage points of tax taken from pay packets - through both class 1 National Insurance Contributions paid by employees and class 4 NICs paid by self-employed workers.

This is expected to add about £180 a year to the average standard rate taxpayer's annual bills and £715 a year to the average higher rate taxpayer's bills.

The levy will not apply to pensions income or voluntary payments.

Dividend taxes will also rise by 1.25 percentage points - this is a tax charged on income received from shares you own.

The Chancellor said that he planned to reduce taxes in the next few years.

Cheaper beer and wine and bubbly

From 15 rates of alcohol duty, there will just be six categories in a system based on the idea "the more alcohol, the higher the tax".

That means strong ciders and fortified wines will cost a bit more.

By contrast, there will be price falls for Champagne and other sparking wines, fruit ciders, and lower strength beers and wines will get cheaper.

There is also a 5% cut in taxes on pints pulled in pubs.

"We’re making sweeping reforms to our outdated alcohol duty system. Introducing a new system that is simpler, fairer, and healthier - as well as permanently cutting the cost of a pint by 3p," Sunak said.

The Chancellor also scrapped a planned rise in duties.

"The planned increase in duty on spirits like Scotch Whisky, wine, cider and beer, will all, from midnight tonight, be cancelled," Sunak said.

"We’re also taking five steps today to create an alcohol duties system that is simpler, fairer, and healthier."

Minimum wage rises

The UK’s lowest-paid workers will see their wages rise from April 1 next year, with the National Living Wage (NLW) increases from £8.91 to £9.50 an hour – adding £1,073.80 to the annual earnings of someone working 35 hours a week.

The minimum wage for people aged 21-22 is going up from £8.36 to £9.18 an hour while and the Apprentice Rate rises from £4.30 to £4.81 an hour.

Sunak said: “This wage boost ensures we’re making work pay and keeps us on track to meet our target to end low pay by the end of this Parliament.” 

Minimum wage rises for 2022 in full

GroupCurrent rate (£/hr)2022 rate (£/hour)Cash increase% cash increase
NLW (23+)£8.91£9.5059p6.60%
21-22 year olds£8.36£9.1882p9.80%
18-20 year olds£6.56£6.8327p4.10%
16-17 year olds£4.62£4.8119p4.10%

Universal credit relief - more cash for people working

The Chancellor said the universal credit taper rate - which sees benefits fall for every extra pound you earn - will be reduced.

Currently, people claiming universal credit lose 63p worth of benefits for every £1 the lose.

That will be cut to 55p “within weeks" - and increasing work allowances by £500 a year to seeing people who are working while still claiming benefits keep more of their cash.

"This is a tax on working people – and I’m cutting it from 63p to 55p," Sunak said.

"I’m also increasing the Work Allowances by £500, this is a tax cut next year of £2.2bn.

"Nearly 2 million families will keep, on average, an extra £1,000 a year.

"We'll introduce not in April as normal but within weeks, and no later than December 1st."

Public sector pay rises

After a one year pay pause, the Chancellor said more than 5 million public sector workers would see their pay rise again next year. This includes nurses, teachers and members of the armed forces.

Sunak said: “With the economy firmly back on track, it’s right that nurses, teachers and all the other public sector workers who played their part during the pandemic see their wages rise.”

How much of a pay rise people will get will depend on recommendations from the independent Pay Review Bodies.

New school places for children who have special educational needs 

Some £2.6 billion will be spent to create 30,000 new school places for children who have special educational needs and disabilities.

The cash will also help improve school buildings in terms of accessibility and fund new, special provisions in free schools England.

The Budget also included a fund of £1.6 billion over three years to help roll out new 'T-levels' for 16 to 19 year olds as well as £550 million for adult skills in England.

A new plan to help 500,000 adults improve their numeracy.

More support for parents

The Budget included a £500 million plan to support parents and children in England.

That is made up of £200 million to support families with complex issues; £82 million for parenting advice centres in 75 different areas; £100 million for mental health support for expectant parents; and £50 million of breastfeeding support.

Cash for transport outside London

England's city regions will get £6.9 billion to spend on train, bus, tram and cycle projects.

That includes £1.07 billion for Greater Manchester, £1.05 billion for the West Midlands and £830 million for West Yorkshire.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will also get extra cash through the Barnett formula - which is how central funds are allocated to parliaments and assemblies in the devolved nations.

Cash for communities

The Chancellor announced a string of plans to boost communities across the UK.

This included £205 million to fund 8,000 sports pitches, doubling of tax relief for theatres, museums an galleries as well as support for projects from Liverpool to south Leicester.

Another £560 million was allocated for youth services over the next three years, enough to fund up to 300 youth clubs in England.

There was also funding to turn more than 100 areas of derelict land into new ‘pocket parks.

Flight taxes down for domestic flights, up for long haul

Air passenger duty - the tax you pay on plane tickets - will be halved on domestic flights.

But it will be increased on people making flights longer than 5,000 miles.

Tax cut for retail and leisure firms

The chancellor has slashed business rats by 50% - up to £110,000 - for businesses in the retail and leisure sectors for a year.

So pubs, gyms and more will pay less.

About James Andrews 

James is our senior personal finance editor and has spent the past 15 years writing and editing personal finance news. He has previously written for ReachPLC, was money editor of Mirror Online and Yahoo Finance UK, and has recently been quoted in City AM, Liverpool Echo and Daily Record as well as featured on national radio shows TalkRadio and the BBC

View James Andrews’ full biography here or visit the money.co.uk press centre for our latest news.

About James Andrews

James has spent the past 15 years writing and editing personal finance news, specialising in consumer rights, pensions, insurance, property and investments - picking up a series of awards for his journalism along the way.

View James Andrews's full biography here or visit the money.co.uk press centre for our latest news.