"The era of austerity is finally coming to an end", Chancellor Philip Hammond declared on four separate occasions when delivering Budget 2018.

Hammond delivered plenty of new personal tax measures in his final budget before the UK is scheduled to leave the EU. Here are some of the biggest, and what they mean for you.

Will you pay less income tax?

Most taxpayers in England and Northern Ireland will have more cash in their pocket after Hammond revealed plans to raise the personal allowance to £12,500 from 6 April 2019.

The domino effect sees the higher-rate threshold rise from £46,350 to £50,000, meaning basic-rate taxpayers will be those earning between £12,500 and £50,000 in 2019/20.

First mooted in the Conservative's election manifesto back in 2017, Hammond went a step further to introduce the measure a year earlier than planned - and these bands will be in place until 2020/21.

Scotland - and for the first time, Wales - have powers to set their own rates of income tax for 2019/20, with Holyrood set to reveal its Budget on 12 December 2018.

Are you in line for a pay rise?

That depends. If you're being paid more than the national living wage, you probably won't see any difference in your take-home pay.

However, for low earners over the age of 25, the national living wage - £7.83 an hour - will increase 4.9% to £8.21 an hour from 6 April 2019.

This raises the minimum annual wage to £16,009 for employees working the typical 37.5-hour week.

Did drinkers raise a glass?

Hammond said "we can all raise a wee dram to [leader of the Scottish Conservatives] Ruth Davidson on the birth of baby Finn" after freezing duty on all spirits.

Drinkers of beers and most ciders breathed a collective sigh of relief as the price of pint of beer should fall by an average of 2p, while the price of a pint of cider should drop by 1p.

However, it wasn't quite happy hour for wine drinkers, who will see the price of a bottle of wine rise in line with RPI inflation from 1 February 2019.

How will it affect drivers?

Fuel duty will be frozen for a ninth successive year from April 2019, remaining at its current rate of 57.95p per litre of petrol, diesel, biodiesel or bioethanol.

The standard rate of insurance premium tax, which car and van insurance is subjected to and had increased in each of the last three years, was also frozen at 12%.

What about the housing crisis?

Hammond's headline-grabbing measure in Autumn Budget 2017 surrounded the abolishment of stamp duty for first-time buyers on homes worth up to £300,000, or £500,000 in London.

The Chancellor took that a step further so that all shared-ownership first-time buyers in England and Northern Ireland can benefit from the exemption, too.

This change takes effect immediately and can be backdated to 22 November 2017, so those eligible can claim a stamp duty refund on shared-ownership properties bought after that date.

Also in the pipeline is a new help-to-buy equity loan scheme , which will be introduced in April 2021 and will run for two years before closing in March 2023.

Get in touch to discuss Budget 2018.

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