On Monday I said that today’s Autumn Statement would reveal whether appeals for clemency in relation to the Chancellor’s proposal to reduce tax credits had fallen on deaf ears.
In a spectacular u-turn that demonstrated Mr Osborne’s ears are not hard of hearing, today the proposals weren’t even watered down, they were jettisoned.
Christmas has therefore come early for thousands of lower and mid income families and individuals who otherwise would have lost valuable boosts to their income.
Pensioners, too, will be rejoicing – well, all except those women who thought they’d be able to retire at 60 but then were told the state pension age would be increased – that the weekly pension is to rise by £3.35 to £119.30.
But others will lose out from today’s series of announcements. In particular, student nurses will be less than enthralled following the announcement that their education will have to be funded by loans instead of grants, while other public spending cuts announced by the Chancellor will also cause real pain for many.
The rise of 3% in stamp duty for those buying a second home for buy to let purposes may not engender much sympathy with the general public but it will come as a blow to those seeing this as a way of boosting their income as the Chancellor raises his tax take.
As I surmised on Monday, today’s Statement didn’t involve changes to pensions or ISAs. But with a continued squeeze on the public purse, the need for people to make their own provision for their and their children’s financial futures is more apparent than ever.