HAMPSHIRE tax expert Alan Rolfe has described the Autumn Statement as “fairly optimistic” given the constraints the Chancellor was under.

Mr Rolfe, who is a senior tax manager at HWB based in Chandler's Ford, said there was a lot more positive news than was expected from the statement.

He drew attention to the moves by George Osborne to close tax loopholes that those firms and individuals were exploiting to avoid tax.

From that, said Mr Rolfe, the chancellor was hoping for a windfall which he would then use to fund some of the measures that were intended to stimulate the stagnant economic growth of the country.

Mr Rolfe said the Autumn Statement contained good news for both large and small businesses with the cut to corporation tax of one per cent that would greater affect the larger firms and the tax relief on purchasing capital goods increasing to 250,0000 - that would make a bigger difference to smaller firms.

Mr Rolfe said the increased threshold to personal allowances - rising to £9,440 - would also be welcomed across the board as would the scrapping of the 3p fuel allowance.

“We were expected personal tax relief to go up but this is accelerated from what the Government were originally forecasting. Their aim is to get to £10,000 threshold which as the chancellor said is now within touching distance.”

He also added that freezes to rail fares, no introduction of a so-called mansion tax, pension payments remaining untouched and the likely further freezing of council tax were all encouraging despite the overall economic picture remaining gloomy.