Financial Planning's review on the Autumn Statement

The Chancellor announces a £400m injection into venture capital (VCTs) funds to help start up companies. This is a boost for VCTs, and evidences, continued support for this form of investment and the tax incentives that it provides to investors.

At the lower end of the investment risk spectrum, there was an announcement made about the launch of a three year NS&I bond with an expected yield of 2.2%, subject to market conditions. Available to over 16s with a minimum investment of £100 and maximum £3000. Launch date April 2017, for 12 months.

The statement was arguably mercifully quiet on the pensions front.

State pensioners will be cheered by the news that the 'triple lock' by which the state pension is increased, is to remain in place for now. The lock sees the pension increased by the higher of inflation, the increase in average earnings or 2.5%. Press coverage leading up to the statement had leant towards this 'generous' treatment of state pension payments being curtailed.

For those in employment, pensions escaped a curb on salary sacrifice benefits that will affect certain perks such as gym contracts, phones and cars. Private medical insurance is however caught by the changes. Salary sacrifice or exchange, as it is sometimes called, enables employees and employers to reduce their tax liability by exchanging salary for other benefits.

For those accessing income from private pensions through 'drawdown', there is a reduced opportunity to fund pensions. Known as the Money Purchase Annual Allowance, this has been limited to £10,000 per annum but is due to fall further to £4000 per annum from April 2017. The move is designed to further limit the tax relief available from pensions once you have accessed your pension fund and received a portion of it tax free.

The Chancellor also announced a continuation of the Help to Buy ISA Scheme despite generally poor take up of the product. If you are saving to buy your first home, the government will boost your savings by 25% when saving via the product.