Welcome to the 2017 Autumn Budget Newsletter from Beatons Group
Hammond heralds vision of an 'outward looking, free-trading nation'
Chancellor Philip Hammond's first Autumn Budget was delivered against a backdrop of economic and political uncertainty, fuelled partly by the ongoing Brexit process.
Acknowledging that the UK has entered a 'critical phase' of negotiations, the Chancellor set out his vision of a 'new relationship' with the European Union – though he was keen to emphasise the need to prepare for 'every possible Brexit outcome', announcing that £3bn had been set aside for Brexit preparations.
While asserting that the economy 'continues to confound those who talk it down', the Chancellor revealed that the Office for Budget Responsibility has revised down UK economic growth for the next five years, with the economy expected to grow by 1.5% in 2017. Debt is also expected to reach a peak this year, reducing gradually thereafter as a share of GDP, while borrowing forecasts have also been revised downwards.
Technology and housing proved to be a key focus of the speech, with the Chancellor announcing a package of support for electric vehicles, including £400m for new charging points, and a £44bn investment fund to support the government's target of building an average of 300,000 new homes every year, over the next five years. The government will also make changes to the planning system to 'encourage better use of land in cities and towns'.
There was also some good news for first-time buyers, as the Chancellor revealed that any seeking to buy a property worth up to £300,000 will be exempt from paying Stamp Duty Land Tax with immediate effect. Meanwhile, the income tax personal allowance will increase to £11,850 from April 2018, with the higher rate threshold rising to £34,500.
Although making a feature of his resistance to reducing the VAT registration threshold, the Chancellor did address the issue of business rates, announcing that firms being affected by the so-called 'staircase tax' could apply to have their bills recalculated and backdated, and that future revaluations will take place every three years.
Finally, entering at least partially into the festive spirit, the Chancellor announced that duty on most alcoholic drinks will be frozen, although a new band of duty will be introduced in 2019 for certain higher strength ciders.
For a detailed overview of the 2017 Autumn Budget and what the measures mean for you and your business, visit our Autumn Budget Report summary.
WHAT THEY SAID
'I report today on an economy that continues to grow, continues to create more jobs than ever before and continues to confound those who seek to talk it down.'
Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer
'We have had the rhetoric of a long-term economic plan that never meets its targets when what all too many are experiencing is long-term economic pain – and the hardest hit are disabled people, single parents and women.'
Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party leader
'Britain has gone from top of the growth league to deep into the relegation zone, with each person set to be £687 worse off per year.'
Vince Cable, Liberal Democrats leader
'FSB presented a series of reforms to the Chancellor to make the business rates system fit for the future, and we are delighted to see so many taken on board to improve a tax that so badly undermines economic growth.'
Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses
'The Chancellor dipped his toe in the water with this Budget, but failed to make a splash with business.'
Stephen Martin, Director General of the Institute of Directors
'Businesses will expect greater boldness from the Chancellor - and more radical support for infrastructure and investment - once a Brexit transition period is secured and the shape of a UK-EU deal becomes clearer.'
Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce
For the full Budget announcements visit:
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