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The Autumn Budget 2018
With Brexit negotiations ongoing, the Autumn 2018 Budget could have been one of caution and little activity. And one of the early announcements did give a nod to Brexit with an additional £500m being set aside to cover Brexit contingencies.
That contingency aside, the Budget looked more to the future; reflecting the Prime Minister’s earlier remarks that austerity was coming to an end. With the deficit falling over the last eight years from 9.9% to 1.9% and the OBR forecasting improving growth and employment prospects The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, delivered his 2018 Budget as a ‘budget for hard working people.’
With this in mind headline measures included:
- Bringing forward the manifesto pledge on tax thresholds by a year. This means that for the 2019/20 tax year the tax free personal allowance will increase to £12,500 with the higher rate threshold increasing to £50,000
- A freeze on tax rates for fuel, beer, cider, spirits, and short haul passenger duty. However the tax on ‘white ciders’ and tobacco will rise in line with previous announcements.
- No change on the tax treatment of pensions; something which was widely discussed in advance of the Budget.
Other measures have been designed to help people generally; with funding made available in a range of areas including the NHS, schools, air ambulance services, and to help local authorities to tackle the pothole problem. Whilst The Chancellor is bound by EU rules on VAT and therefore can’t waive VAT on fundraising activities by veterans’ charities he has announced a £10m grant which is equivalent to the amount of VAT raised by those charities. Village halls are also to benefit from a refurbishment fund whilst £1.7m has been set aside for educational projects in schools to mark the upcoming 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camps.
Businesses and local authorities are to benefit from a range of measures. The announcement on a rate reduction of a third for smaller retail shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants had already been made. Other measures include a revision of planning regulations to facilitate the transformation of business premises into housing and business rates relief for public toilets. Other measures for business include an expansion of the apprenticeship scheme, extending the enterprise allowance scheme and extending the British Business Bank’s start up loan funding programme.
Finally, whilst The Chancellor has held back for now from taxing single use plastic cups he has announced an intention for the Government to consult on the introduction of a tax on plastic packaging. This is intended to apply to all packaging whether manufactured in the UK or imported which contains less than a specified percentage of recycled matter.
The full suite of budget details can be found here: