A great deal of spending was outlined, all worthwhile and much sorely needed, including for example funds going into mental health services, help for small retailers, and some measures to take the sting out of the move to Universal Credit. Pledges to ‘leave more of people’s hard-earned money in their pockets’ include raising the tax-free personal allowance to £12,500 and the higher-rate (40%) threshold to £50,000 in April 2019, earlier than preannounced.
On first glance, it isn’t obvious to me where the savings or extra tax are coming from to balance these (although the Chancellor seems willing to accept a greater deficit for longer, and a new Digital Services Tax has been announced to tax giant online businesses trading in the UK). I shall be looking carefully to see whether ‘Fiscal Phil’ has in fact made some unannounced, ‘back door’ tax increases in the detail of the Budget documents. Otherwise, it feels as though in the face of storm warnings, the rainy day fund is being spent. And not on umbrellas.
Detail will be added into my BUDGET NEWS page (above) as I go. I certainly see the freezing of the VAT registration threshold for a further two years as a revenue raiser, because this will mean that more traders will need to register for VAT in the coming years.