In the last budget before Brexit, Chancellor Philip Hammond awarded an additional £37m of development funding for the Northern Powerhouse Rail, a cross-pennine rail link between northern cities including Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Sheffield and Hull.
Although he announced that austerity measures were coming to an end with a slow return to spending, it appears that this may only stand up if Brexit negotiations go smoothly.
Hailed as the biggest give-away budget in a generation, it seems Mr Hammond has turned the spending taps on again as borrowing is less than forecast. More funds are being channeled into the NHS and care in mental health will account for bulk of new money.
More money has also been made available for Defence, Education – £400m being allocated to enable schools to buy “the little extras that they need”- Transport, Infrastructure and £650m to aid the UK’s ailing High Streets.
A £900m cut in business rates for SMEs is designed to support smaller businesses and encourage retailers to continue to invest in towns and cities.
Personal Allowance is being raised to in April 2019, from the current rate to £12,500 delivering a tax cut for 32m people. The higher rate threshold will increase to £50,000 in April 2019, worth £130 a year for a typical base rate taxpayer.
There was a freeze on beer, cider and spirits duty, saving 2p on a pint of beer, 1p on a pint of cider, and 30p on a bottle of Scotch or gin.
Wine duty will not be frozen and a bottle will go up by 8p from 1 February next year, and a packet of 20 cigarettes has gone up by 33p.
Main Budget tax proposals have been summarised by Stockport based Hallidays:
Our summary concentrates on the tax measures which include:
- increases to the personal allowance and basic rate band
- extending off-payroll working to medium/large organisations in the private sector
- a temporary increase to the Annual Investment Allowance
- freezing the VAT registration threshold for a further two years
- changes to Entrepreneurs’ Relief and private residence relief
- measures to tackle the plastic problem.
Previously announced measures include:
- increases in car benefits
- plans for Making Tax Digital for Business
- extending the charge to gains on non-UK residents of non-residential UK property.