Tuesday, 30 October 2018

The last Budget before Brexit


Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, delivered his last Budget before Brexit, yesterday.
There are always leaks, but there was plenty of news, mostly good.
Tax changes
Mr. Hammond gave us all a little bit extra yesterday. Currently, we all have a tax free earning allowance of £11,850 per year. He raised the threshold to £12,500 from April next year, delivering on a promise 12 months early.
The upper level of tax increased too. At the moment the amount 40% tax kicks in is £46,351. From next April it will be the nice round figure of £50,000
Debt Problems
Debt problems have been increasing for certain sections of the community. It is clearly an issue, and the Government think they have a solution to help.
People struggling with debt will now be entitled to a 'breathing space' of 6 months so they can try to get back on track.
There will be a new emergency loan scheme, offered on an interest-free basis to those in need.
The Government are trying to stimulate innovation in this area. There is a news £m prize fund for whoever comes up with some clever tech solution that will allow lenders to compete against high-interest lenders.
Potholes are a perennial issue, without any solution than throwing more money at it. So, Mr. Hammond has done exactly that, to the tune of £420m.
Stamp Duty
A popular move by the Chancellor last year was to remove stamp-duty for first-time buyers buying a property up to £300,000. If they were lucky enough to be able to buy a home between £300,000 and £500,000, then they would pay a reduced amount of stamp duty.
In this budget, the Chancellor has announced that he will extend the exemption to anyone buying a shared ownership home. He has also backdated it a year. So some will be able to get their money back.
Fuel Duty
For nine years this Government has frozen fuel duty. Some say that is brilliant news, some are not too happy from a green perspective.

Business Rates
Some very welcome news for the struggling High Street. There will be a reduction of a 1/3 on business rates for all retail units that have a rateable value of £51,000 or lower.

There was also an announcement regarding toilets!! If you own a public toilet, you will no longer pay business rates. With around 40% of all public toilets disappearing, it is clearly felt something needs to be done.

Living Wage
announcement The Living Wage is increasing by 4.9% from April. This will move it from £7.83 an hour to £8.21 an hour.
Alcohol and Tobacco
Some good news for pubs and drinkers. Beer, cider and spirits all had the duty frozen on them. But if wine is your thing, then expect an extra 8p per bottle from February.

By the time you are reading this, tobacco will have already gone up by 2%. That means another 33p per packet or 17p for a 10g pack of cigars.

On top of all these measures, there was a lot of announcements about what we expect our money to be spent on in the next year. Including a whopping £20.5bn for the NHS - which many have said is badly needed.

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