Back to November 2016

What savers want to see in the Autumn Statement

Scrapping tax on savings interest and cracking down on tax evasion were hot topics when we asked our members what they’d like to see in the Autumn Statement.

More money for the NHS, funded by higher taxes on drinking and smoking, and greater support for in-work apprenticeships were other high priorities.

After a year of political upheaval in the UK and beyond, everyone has a view on what politicians should, or shouldn’t, be doing.

So as the Chancellor prepares to present the Autumn Statement later this week, we asked Leeds Building Society members* where they thought Philip Hammond should focus when he sets out the Government’s financial plans.

Home help

Perhaps surprisingly, members were evenly split between giving more help to first time buyers (30%) versus greater investment in housing for older people wishing to downsize (29%), while the remainder had no strong preference either way.

Support savers

The largest section of respondents (46%) thought the Personal Savings Allowance introduced by George Osborne, Mr Hammond’s predecessor at 11 Downing Street, didn’t go far enough and supported making all savings tax free. A further 34% said they’d like to see an increase in the allowance, which came into force in April and currently covers the first £1,000 of savings interest.

Sin taxes to top up NHS coffers

Members’ views were bad news for smokers and drinkers, with almost half (46%) supporting higher taxes on cigarettes and alcohol, compared with just over a fifth (22%) who wanted to increase tax on luxury items such as cars and jewellery. Many saw a direct correlation between unhealthy lifestyles and the added financial strain this puts on the NHS.

Higher spending on social care for the elderly and vulnerable was another key subject, with support for this outstripping backing for help with childcare costs by more than five to one (62% to 12%).

Training for work without debt

Education spending was another topic which provoked strong opinions – more than three times as many respondents thought the Government should spend more on apprenticeships and workplace training (59%) rather than cut university tuition fees (16%).

Going green - carrot or stick?

Opinions on environmental initiatives were more evenly-balanced, with members saying green incentives were slightly more likely to improve consumer behaviour than imposing penalties. While 35% of respondents supported an increase in road tax for the most polluting vehicles, a similar proportion (38%) favoured incentives for homeowners to make their properties more environmentally-friendly.

Rail -v- road

Meanwhile, almost half (48%) of Society members said upgrading key rail routes should be a higher priority for investment, rather than helping motorists by cutting tax on fuel (31%).

“It wasn’t a surprise that our members expressed plenty of strong opinions when it came to how the Government is dealing with current economic challenges,” said Richard Fearon, Leeds Building Society’s Chief Commercial Officer.

“There were some recurring themes, with support for on-the-job training for young people in preference to running up debts at university, and more money for the NHS paid for by increased taxes on drinking and smoking.

“Cracking down on tax evasion to make sure people and businesses pay their fair share was another popular topic, as was removing tax paid on savings interest, potentially altogether, as many savers will already have paid tax on their money before investing it.”


Notes to Editors

Autumn Statement Infographic

Autumn Statement Infographic

With infographic

*The survey, which was undertaken through Leeds Building Society’s customer panel ‘TalkingPoint’, sought the views of 248 members in the month of November 2016.




Autumn Statement – If I were Chancellor…




Cut the cost of university tuition fees



Increase spending on apprenticeships and workplace training


Increase tax on luxury items (e.g. cars and jewellery)



Increase tax on cigarettes/alcohol


Make all savings tax free



Increase the personal savings allowance


Increase road tax for the most polluting vehicles



Offer homeowners incentives to make their properties more environmentally friendly


Offer working parents more support with the costs of childcare



Invest more money in social care for the elderly and vulnerable


Spend more on upgrading key rail routes



Cut tax on fuel


Devote more resources to helping first time buyers to get on the property ladder



More investment in housing for older people wishing to downsize




Leeds Building Society won the awards for Best Building Society Savings Provider and Innovation in Personal Finance (Part and part mortgages) at the 2016 Moneyfacts Awards.

The Society also has been named ‘Best Regular Savings Account Provider’ for the second consecutive year by independent consumer advice website Savings Champion.

Leeds Building Society has 65 branches throughout the UK, Gibraltar and Ireland and assets of £14.9bn (at 30th June 2016). The Society has operated from the centre of Leeds since 1886.