Chancellor Philip Hammond has delivered the 2017 Autumn Budget to Parliament.
It was such a jocular and cheery Budget that it was almost easy to forget the many spending and deficit pressures facing the Chancellor.
Philip Hammond laughed and joked, and there were even props – with the PM pulling out a packet of cough sweets just in case.
But you probably don’t particularly care about the Chancellor’s delivery or his remarkable calm in the face of pressure from the Tory back benches.
So here’s what the Budget means for the money in your pocket:
Hikes in the tax-free allowance
The tax-free personal allowance is to rise to £11,850 from April next year, while the higher-rate (40%) threshold will increase to £46,350 at the same time.
Hammond said this will mean a standard basic rate taxpayer is £1,075 a year better off compared to back in 2010.
At the same time, a range of measures on tax avoidance and evasion were revealed, forecast to raise as much as £3.8 billion by 2022/23.
Low-income earners will be better off from April, with the National Living Wage rising by 4.4% to £7.83 an hour, up from £7.50 now.
Hammond says this will mean a pay rise of around £600 for the lowest paid, but it is still a long way off the actual living wage, which is currently set at £8.75 an hour.
Changes to Universal Credit
Amid a wealth of anger and frustration about the roll-out of Universal Credit, the Chancellor did take some steps to address the problems with the system.
The 7-day waiting period is to be ended, meaning entitlement begins on the day of the claim.
Importantly, households needing an advance will be able to claim one within 5 days of applying, as well as having 12 months to repay that money rather than six.
Stamp Duty abolished for new buyers
This was one of the biggest stories in the Budget and one that could have a significant impact on the wider housing market.
First-time buyers will no longer pay Stamp Duty on properties worth up to £300,000, nor will they pay the duty on the first £300,000 of houses worth up to £500,000 in London and other expensive areas.
That was the biggest of the housing news, but there was also some major building plans unveiled. Hammond says that at least £44 billion of capital, loans and guarantees will be provided over the next five years to boost house building.
However, some analysts have already suggested that the biggest winners from this will be people with properties to sell, as new buyers compete with one another and drive up prices.
His aim is that 300,000 new homes a year will be constructed by the mid-2020s, which might ease house prices rises but should make home buying more affordable for new entrants.
There was also an announcement that councils will have the chance to levy a 100% Council Tax premium on empty properties.
Good for drivers (bad news for some)
There was definite reason for motorists to cheer in this Budget, with the announcement that the planned hike in fuel duty scheduled for April has been cancelled.
It came alongside a raft of motoring measures, including significant new spending on charging infrastructure for electric cars.
However, drivers of new diesel vehicles will feel a sting, with the news that diesel cars that do not meet emissions standards will have their vehicle excise duty hiked from April next year.
The first year VED rate will go up a band for affected new cars, while those fitted with cleaner technology will remain exempt.
This is all to fund a new £220 million Clean Air Fund. Good news for white van man and woman – they’ll be exempt from the increase.
Online price hikes (maybe)
The Chancellor is to target £1.2 billion a year in lost VAT from online shopping by demanding selling platforms accept responsibility for ensuring the tax is gathered.
This could mean some price hikes for online shoppers but it will raise around £200 million a year in additional tax.
Frozen air fares
A weakened pound meant travellers were already feeling the pinch. Fortunately for them, Hammond has frozen short-term and long-haul economy Air Passenger Duty rates.
It’s to be paid for by increasing the rates paid on premium tickets and private jets.
Much was made in advance of this Budget of the need to address intergenerational unfairness. However, while younger people will be cheering the abolition of Stamp Duty on the bulk of their first homes, there was little else in this Budget to make them feel warm and fuzzy.
Perhaps the only giveaway targeted directly at them was confirmation that the 16-25 railcard that offers discounted train journeys has been extended to include people up to the age of 30.
That will allow people to get a third off rail fares if they spend a small amount on a card. It’s widely seen as a way to entice voters in their 20s back to the Conservatives but a lot of analysts are suggesting it’s doing more to annoy voters in their 30s.
Booze, cigs and other sins
“Happy Christmas Mr Deputy Speaker” beamed Hammond, like the world’s least convincing Father Christmas, as he revealed that duties on sprits, wine and beer would be frozen.
The only exception to that was for white ciders, with plans to increase the duties on those from 2019 to dissuade problem drinkers.
No such luck for smokers though, with the news the tobacco duty escalator will continue to push up prices at inflation plus 2%.
On top of that, there will be an additional 1% duty on hand-rolling tobacco this year.
Pensioners not on the agenda
There were no significant changes for pensioners.
Pension savers left alone too
And pensions were left untouched, following a raft of changes in previous Budgets.
Our finances as a nation
We've taken a closer look at how the Budget may affect you directly, but of course the public spending decisions will have an impact on the services we all rely on.
What’s more, the state of the public finances will have an ongoing effect on all of us, particularly as each successive Government has tried (and so far failed) to bring the deficit back to a more acceptable level.
There was good news and bad news in this Budget for our economy – you can read more about it in our article Budget in brief - key points at a glance.
However, it’s important to know that the Office for Budget Responsibility has downgraded the outlook for productivity growth, business investment and GDP growth to 1.5%, down from 2%.
Another important thing to consider is that most Chancellors use their first post-election Budget to increase revenues, knowing the distance of the next election gives them some breathing room.
Instead, Hammond has increased spending by £23 billion over the next five years. What that indicates for the country’s finances, its political stability and, ultimately, your pocket is hard to predict.
Anyway, that’s what Hammond said today. Now begins the tougher job of trawling through the numbers released to see exactly what he did not say.