Good news – austerity is apparently coming to an end!

By Paul Warren
In November 5, 2018
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As always, speculation about the Budget was way out. In fact, the word “pension” was barely mentioned, despite rumours that the annual allowance and tax relief would be cut and that the focus would be on recouping money in this area to fund the NHS deficit.

We have put together a list of the top things we think may mean something to you or are somewhat interesting …

  1. The amount of spending for “no deal” Brexit planning has increased by an extra £500 million (hopefully, this will not be needed!).
  2. A UK Digital Services Tax introduced on technology companies with a revenue of over £500 million per year, e.g. Facebook. This is due to raise £1.5 billion over four years (let’s hope these companies don’t dodge their way out of it!).
  3. £28.8 billion for a national roads fund paid for via road tax. This includes an immediate £420 million set aside for infrastructure, e.g. potholes, bridge repairs (no more pothole-dodging for us!).
  4. An extra £20.5 billion to the NHS over the next five years with a focus on mental health services (great news for the NHS and an area that is seriously underfunded!).
  5. Personal allowance increased to £12,500 from April 2019 and higher rate tax bracket extended to £50,000 (good news all round!).
  6. High street fund of £675 million for councils to redevelop high streets (is this too late? See the article about the demise of the high street below).
  7. Plastics tax to be levied on packaging containing less than 30% recyclable material (keeping it green and bang on trend!). No specific levy on disposable plastic cups, however, which is a shame.
  8. Help to Buy scheme extended for two more years until 2023 (mixed reviews on this one!).
  9. Stamp duty abolished for those first-time buyers purchasing shared ownership properties (this has already been removed for those buying full ownership properties) (great news for any first-time buyers you may know!).
  10. Business rate bills to be cut by one-third for the next two years for all retailers in England with a rateable value of £51,000 or less, delivering an annual saving of up to £8,000 for as many as 90% of all independent shops, pubs, restaurants and cafés (good news for small business owners!).
  11. Tax avoidance clampdown is due to raise another £2 billion over the next five years (good news for everyone!).

We did expect some mention of simplification of Inheritance Tax gifting or something similar in the Budget, but this did not happen; hopefully, this is still in the pipeline and will be discussed soon.

Overall, it was a very low-key budget, which seems bizarre when so much is happening. Remember, the Chancellor did say that with a no-deal Brexit, the spring statement could turn into an “emergency budget” and so things could be all change!

If you are interested in more than the headlines you can, of course, find the full Budget documents using the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/budget-2018-documents

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