The Autumn Statement by the Chancellor on 25 November 2015 included the following:
- The apprenticeship levy will be introduced in April 2017 at a rate of 0.5% of an employer's paybill (ie, total employee earnings excluding benefits in kind), to the extent that it exceeds £3million (achieved by giving employers an annual allowance of £15,000 against the levy; note only one allowance for connected companies). It will be collected by HMRC through PAYE. Employers in England will be able to access funding through the Digital Apprenticeships system.
- There will be an upper income limit of £100,000 per parent and a minimum weekly income level equivalent to 16 hours per parent (worked at the National Living Wage) to be eligible for the new tax-free childcare scheme (due to be launched in 2017).
- The government intends to increase funding for the Fit for Work Service and to publish a White Paper in 2016 setting out reforms aimed at improving support for people with health conditions and disabilities, and exploring the role of employers in increasing the employment of disabled people.
- From 6 April 2016, tax relief for travel and subsistence expenses will be restricted for workers engaged through an employment intermediary, such as an umbrella company or a personal services company. There will also be a call for evidence on the current tax treatment of employer provided living accommodation, and simplification of the tax rules on employee share schemes. The government is still considering whether to take action in relation to the growth of salary sacrifice arrangements.
- No announcement was made following the HMRC consultation on proposed reforms to the taxation of employment termination payments. HMRC has indicated that the responses to the consultation highlighted the complexities of the issue and further consideration is therefore required.
- New advisory fuel rates for employers with company car schemes, which apply to all journeys made on or after 1 December 2015, have been published here.
- The Department for Work and Pensions has confirmed that the rates for statutory maternity, adoption, paternity, shared parental and sick pay will remain unchanged for 2016/17.