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This week Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, delivered his first big Parliamentary speech, the Autumn Statement. It’s one of the two occasions in the year where the Chancellor sets out how the nation’s finances are performing, and what his plans are for the future. There were a number of eye-catching announcements, including banning the fees letting agents charge tenants, such as administration fees covering things like credit and immigration checks. In future, these fees will have to be passed on to landlords. The National Living Wage is to increase from £7.20 an hour to £7.50 an hour, while more than £1.3 billion is to be spent on improving the nation’s roads and reducing congestion. There was more good news in that next year’s fuel duty rise has been scrapped, but the Insurance Premium tax - a charge we all pay on our various insurance policies - will go up once again from 10% to 12%. The truth is that the Chancellor remains limited in what he can do as a result of the UK’s difficult financial position. Official forecasts suggest that the UK faces an additional deficit of up to £100 billion over the next four years following the Brexit vote, while the Government has scrapped its previous intention to deliver a budget surplus by the end of this Parliament. It’s been a year of huge change, of which Brexit has been just one example. We have a new Prime Minister, a new Government and now significant uncertainty created by the election of Donald Trump as the next President of the United States. The only certainty in this world sadly is death, as horrible as that may sound. No matter who is delivering the Budget or the Autumn Statement each year, it’s essential that you make arrangements for what will happen when you die, to ensure your relatives do not have to deal with further heartache. The Government is taking stock of its financial position and preparing for the future, just as we all should. We can help you talk through your options and create some certainty. Contact us on 01484 821 500 or log on to our website at www.ramsdens.co.uk.