The Autumn Statement is one of the hottest events in the UK political calendar. It’s an opportunity for a chancellor to really make their mark on the British economy, and yesterday saw George Osborne deliver his revised vision for the UK economy.
Businesses up and down the country eagerly await the announcement to see which sectors are in line to receive a little support through tax breaks and other incentives, and which are set to feel the squeeze. So who were the winners and losers in the chancellor’s latest statement? And what can we expect from the UK economy in the coming years?

Boom for Builders

House-building in the UK had been at its lowest peacetime level since the 1920s prior to Osborne’s speech. Serious supply-side issues have seen house prices skyrocket in recent years, so to meet this incredible level of demand Osborne set out his plan to build more than 400,000 new homes.
Shares in Persimmon, Taylor Wimpey, Barratt and others saw their share prices shoot up by around 2-3% on hearing the news. Surely this has been one of the best statements for the construction industry in living memory, and is sure to help ease the housing crisis currently underway in the UK.

Defence Contractors Get a Shot in the Arm

The UK had already announced its commitment to spend 2% of GDP on defence spending in light of the rise of ISIS and growing geopolitical stability around the world. But the budget had more good news for defence contractors, as the chancellor announced a further 3% to be added to the Ministry of Defence’s budget until the end of this parliament – one of the very few departments which will actually see more investment over the next five years.
Britain’s biggest arms supplier – BAE systems – saw its share prices climb from a low of 491 on Tuesday to 511 just after 10am, as many of the statement’s details had been leaked to the press overnight.

Learning at the Coalface will Cost Employers

In an attempt to alleviate some of the burden on public sector education, the chancellor has told businesses that they will need to spend 0.5% of their payroll on funding apprenticeships. Large employers will be feeling the sting most strongly and have expressed their displeasure at the news through the CBI. Tesco, for example, currently employs more than 470,000 staff so will see their payroll bills rocket as they take on the next generation of workers. This could hit bottom lines in the coming years, and some big businesses may be having an HR re-think already.

Forecasts Remain Unreliable

City insiders had widely tipped disappointing tax revenues ahead of the speech, but Osborne was able to approach the despatch box with some surprising statistics from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). The think-tank was established by Osborne to scrutinise government spending, and it revised its figures for tax revenues upwards, going against expectations. This piece of data will help UK plc to demonstrate its continuing economic improve and paint a rosier picture for the whole of the country going into 2016.