Mr Hammond had plenty to say in his “last Spring Budget” but there was nothing headline-grabbing or particularly unexpected. As usual with these events, there is also a lot in what he didn’t say.
- Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts – generally favourable
- Business Rates – additional reliefs announced
- Dividend allowance to reduce from £5,000 to £2,000 in 2018
- National Insurance for the self-employed to increase to 10% in 2018 then 11% in 2019
- New minimum excise duty on cigarettes
- Money for training and infrastructure to improve productivity
- Money for 5G mobile technology and full-fibre broadband
- £2bn extra money for social care, half now, half over the following 2 years
- More money for schools and for more new free schools
The Small Print:
2p on a pint of beer, 1p on cider, 36p on a bottle of Scotch and 10p on a bottle of wine. Vehicle Excise Duty up by £5 for cars in bands D - G, £10 for bands H - K and £20 for bands L & M. Tobacco Duty is going up by 2% above inflation except for “cheap” cigarettes which will have the new minimum excise duty charged. That covers the “sin” taxes.
Other taxes – Insurance Premium Tax and Air Passenger Duty for long-haul flights are going up but Fuel Duty, Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax rates remain the same. Thankfully there was no further tinkering with Stamp Duty Land Tax.
Other measures – behind the scenes this was a busy Budget. The cash basis threshold for unincorporated businesses has increased from £83K to £150K, new rules are introduced for public sector workers currently “off-payroll”. There is a reduction to pension saving allowed for anyone who has already accessed their pension pot and a raft of new consultations launched on a variety of topics. There’s a lot to get to grips with, but it’s still “steady as she goes”.
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