First Autumn Statement changes take effect

Chancellor George Osborne announced a number of changes affecting employee benefits in his Autumn Statement on 5 December 2013:

  • The investment limits for share plans will increase from April 2014. The limits on sharesave schemes will double from £250 to £500 a month, while the maximum value of shares that an employee can acquire with tax advantages through share incentive plans will rise to £1,800 for partnership shares and to £3,600 a year for free shares:
  • The rise in state pension age has been brought forward to 68 by the mid-2030s and 69 by the late 2040s:
  • The basic state pension will increase by £2.95 a week from April 2014. By 2014/15, it will be about £8.50 a week higher:
  • From January 2014, the Office for Tax and Simplification will introduce nine ‘quick wins’, which aim to simplify the tax efficiencies on employee benefits and expenses:
  • The Autumn Statement confirmed plans to introduce a tax exemption on employer-paid healthcare on amounts up to £500. Tax relief will also extend to exempt medical treatments recommended by employer-arranged occupational health services:
  • The fuel duty increase planned for 1 September 2014 was cancelled, so employees with company cars will save money when filling up their tanks:
  • An annual exemption from income tax on bonuses or equivalent payments in employee-owned organisations will be introduced on amounts up to £3,600 paid to staff:
  • A public sector pay bill control will be piloted to tackle pay costs. It will replace the 1% cap on pay awards for a small number of participating government organisations:
  • The government will abolish employer national insurance contributions for under-21s earning less than £813 a week from 6 April 2015:
  • Legislation will be introduced in the Finance Bill 2014, after consultation, to prevent a number of high-earning non-domiciled employees avoiding tax through dual contracts. Currently, employees that are UK residents but whose job demands them to work abroad, have their foreign income exempt from UK income tax.