Simon Browning, partner in charge of the Nottingham office at UHY, reacting to today’s Autumn Budget, said: “Philip Hammond’s opening comments were that ‘austerity is coming to an end and the economy is back on its feet’.
“The Budget assumed that we will get a deal on Brexit and by Mr Hammond’s own admission, he will understandably need to revisit the Budget in the event of a no deal, even hinting that he may need a full statement again in Spring 2019.
“Repetitive comments about the ‘hard work of the British people’ has led to additional spending for public services and, most importantly, the NHS. Mr Hammond promised £20.5bn more for our health service by 2023/24 and he also revealed plans for a significant investment in mental health crisis services – including a 24/7 helpline. This was great to hear as it will ensure people suffering from a crisis can get the help they need and hopefully take a step forward to ending the stigma that has forced many people to suffer in silence.
“As an advert to the rest of the world, the Chancellor made a statement that ‘Britain is open for business’, including such measures as a significant increase in the Annual Investment Allowance from £200k to £1m for two years, increase in small business and start-up funding and extending the employment allowance from April 2020 for small and medium businesses with an employer NIC bill less than £100k.
“There have been many rumours about changes to Entrepreneurs’ Relief – however, Mr Hammond resisted any major changes but did extend the qualifying period from one year to two years. IR35 rules on self-employment are going to be extended to the private sector as expected, but delayed until 2020 and that it will only apply to medium and large businesses.
“Frustrated at the lack of progress on global tax measures, the Chancellor made a brave move by announcing the introduction of a UK digital services tax – narrowly targeted at digital platform business models of the largest tech businesses (those with global revenues in excess of £500m).
“Further announcements included £675m of co-funding for transformation of the country’s high streets; business rates cut by one-third for small retail businesses for the next two years; a new tax on manufacture and import of plastic packaging which contains less than 30% recycled plastic; personal allowance increased to £12,500 and the higher rate threshold to £50,000 from April 2019 – in line with manifesto pledges and a year earlier.”