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The Chancellor Philip Hammond announced changes to stamp duty, Universal Credit and the Personal Allowance in his 2017 Budget speech. To make sure you know what these changes could mean for your finances, we're going to take you through the key points.

Stamp duty cut for first-time buyers

From today, you will no longer have to pay stamp duty if you're a first-time buyer purchasing a home under £300,000. For properties worth up to £500,000, you won't pay stamp duty on the first £300,000.

Universal Credit

The Government are cutting the waiting time for the first Universal Credit payment from six to five weeks from February 2018. They are removing the seven-day waiting period so entitlement starts on the day of the claim.

Anyone struggling with their money while they wait, can get a full month's advance within five days of applying. They will then repay this back over 12 months – they currently have to pay it back within six months.

To make it easier for people to pay their rent, anyone who previously claimed Housing Benefit will continue to receive it for two weeks after they apply for Universal Credit.

National Living Wage

From April 2018, the National Living Wage will rise from £7.50 an hour to £7.83 an hour.

Not sure what the difference is between National Minimum Wage and Living Wage? Find out in our blog.

Personal Allowance

The Personal Allowance – the amount you can earn before you have to pay tax – will rise to £11,850 from April 2018. The Government had made a commitment to raise the Personal Allowance to £12,500 by 2020.  

New 26-30 Railcard

Over 25s will now be able to benefit from a new railcard. The 26-30 railcard will cost £30 and give them a third off many rail fares. Greater Anglia will trial the railcard from 6 December before a nationwide rollout next year.

Alcohol and tobacco tax

There will be no changes to the cost of alcohol. However, the cost of tobacco will rise with inflation plus 2% duty increase. There will be an additional 1% duty on hand rolling tobacco.

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