Budget Report 29 October 2018

In the Chancellor's introduction, he said of this budget, it was a budget for hard working families, who live their lives far from Westminster and care little for the twists and turns of Westminster politics. People who get up early in the morning to: open up factories, shops, and building sites; to drop their kids off at school; to check on elderly relatives and neighbours. The strivers, the grafters and the carers who are the backbone of the communities and the economy. People who ask only of Government that they protect the jobs that put food on their table. That the government deliver the public services their families rely on and that they do it efficiently, minimising the amount of tax they need to take from their hard-earned wages.

The key budget highlights were;
  • 1.6% growth forecast in 2018, followed by 1.4%, 1.4% and 1.5% and 1.6% in the following years to 2022..
  • For this year, borrowing is forecasted at £25.5bn, then £31.8.5bn, £26.7bn, £ 23.8bn and £20.8bn in subsequent years up to 2022-23.
  • Debt as share of GDP to fall from 85.2% in 2016-17 to 83.7% this year and to 74.1% by 2023-24.
  • A £30bn package for England's roads, including repairs to motorways and potholes.
  • A 30% growth in infrastructure spending
  • £400 million extra for schools this year
  • Over £1.5 billion to support the high street
  • £1.7 billion to increase existing work allowances in Universal Credit
  • Confirmation of an extra £20.5bn for the NHS over the next five years
  • A minimum extra £2bn a year for mental health services
  • New mental health crisis centre, providing support in every accident and emergency unit in the country
  • An extra £700m for councils, for care for the elderly and those with disabilities
  • A one-off £400m "bonus" to help schools buy "the little extras they need"
  • New digital services tax on UK revenues of big technology companies (more than £500 million), from April 2020
  • Private finance initiative (PFI) contracts to be abolished in future
  • Annual investment allowance to be increased from £200,000 to £1m for two years
  • Contribution of small companies to apprenticeship levy to be reduced from 10% to 5%
  • Business rates bill for companies with a rateable value of £51,000 or less to be cut by third over two years
  • £900m in business rates relief for small businesses and £650m to rejuvenate High Streets
  • Some employers will pay half of what they currently pay for apprenticeship training - from 10% to 5%.
  • Beer, cider and spirits duties to be frozen. Wine duty to rise in line with inflation
  • Tobacco duty will continue to rise by inflation plus 2%
  • Fuel duty to be frozen for ninth year in a row
  • All shared equity purchases of up to £500,000 to be exempt from stamp duty
  • Lettings relief limited to properties where the owner is in shared occupancy with the tenant
  • National Living Wage will increase to £8.21 per hour.
  • Tax-free Personal Allowance will rise to £12,500 from 2019-20
  • Higher Rate Threshold will increase from £46,350 to £50,000 in April 2019
  • A extra £160m for counter-terrorism police
  • An extra £1bn for armed forces, for cyber-capabilities and the UK's new nuclear submarine programme
  • Extra £500m for preparations for leaving the EU
  • Spring Statement next March could be upgraded to full Budget if needed
About this report
This report was written immediately after Philip Hammond delivered his speech on 29 October 2018 and has been prepared from press releases and other documents. It is not intended to cover every aspect of the Budget but, instead, is designed to act as overview only. No liability is accepted for any action taken or refrained from in consequence of its contents. Advice should always be sought from a professional.

Wages, Income Tax & National Insurance

Personal Allowance

The Budget announces that the government will meet its commitment to raise the PA to £12,500 and the HRT to £50,000 from April 2019, one year earlier than planned. These thresholds will remain at the same levels in 2020-21 and then increase by CPI.

IR35

Off-payroll working in the private sector – To help people comply with the existing rules and bring private sector organisations in line with public-sector bodies and agencies, the government will reform the off-payroll working rules (known as IR35) in the private sector. This follows consultation and the roll-out of reform in the public sector. Responsibility for operating the off-payroll working rules will move from individuals to the organisation, agency or other third party engaging the worker. To give people and businesses time to prepare, this change will not be introduced until April 2020. Small organisations will be exempt, minimising administrative burdens for the vast majority of engagers, and HMRC will provide support and guidance to medium and large organisations ahead of implementation.

Training

Taxation of self-funded work-related training – Following consultation responses indicating that tax relief is unlikely to be effective in addressing the barriers to learning or incentivising training, the government is maintaining the scope of tax relief currently available to employees and the self-employed for work-related training costs. Instead, the government is launching the National Retraining Scheme and skills pilots to help those in work, including the self-employed, develop the skills they need to thrive.

Rent-a-room relief

Shared occupancy test for rent-a-room relief – Following consultation on draft legislation, to maintain the simplicity of the system the government will not include legislation for the ‘shared occupancy test’ in Finance Bill 2018-19. The government will retain the existing qualifying test of letting in a main or only residence, and will work with stakeholders to ensure that the rules around the relief are clearly understood.

NI Employment Allowance

Employment Allowance reform – To target the Employment Allowance (EA) to support smaller businesses, from April 2020 the government will restrict access to employers with an employer National Insurance contributions (NICs) bill below £100,000 in their previous tax year. The EA provides businesses and charities with up to £3,000 off their employer NICs bill.

Class 2 NICs

National Insurance Contributions Bill – As previously announced in September, the government will not abolish Class 2 NICs during this Parliament, given the potential impacts on some of the lowest earning in society. There are two remaining measures in the draft NICs Bill published on 5 December 2016: reforms to the NICs treatment of termination payments and income from sporting testimonials. The government still intends to legislate for these reforms, which will take effect from April 2020.

National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW)

Following the recommendations of the independent Low Pay Commission (LPC), the government will increase the NLW by 4.9% from £7.83 to £8.21 from April 2019. The government will also accept all of the LPC’s recommendations for the other NMW rates to apply from April 2019,94 including:

  • increasing the rate for 21 to 24 year olds by 4.3% from £7.38 to £7.70 per hour
  • increasing the rate for 18 to 20 year olds by 4.2% from £5.90 to £6.15 per hour
  • increasing the rate for 16 to 17 year olds by 3.6% from £4.20 to £4.35 per hour
  • increasing the rate for apprentices by 5.4% from £3.70 to £3.90 per hour
Extension of the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA)

Extension of the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) – The government will continue the NEA from April 2019 onwards. The NEA provides support and mentoring for benefit claimants who are looking to start or develop their business.

Travel & Transport

Fuel Duty

Fuel duty – Fuel duty will be frozen for a ninth successive year saving the average driver a cumulative £1,000 by April 2020,63 compared with what they would have paid under the pre-2010 fuel duty escalator.

Vehicle Excise Duty (VED)

Vehicle Excise Duty (VED): Uprating – From 1 April 2019 VED rates for cars, vans and motorcycles will increase in line with RPI. To support the haulage sector, the government will freeze the Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) VED for 2019-20.

Vehicle Excise Duty (VED): Vans – The government will shortly publish a summary of responses from the consultation on VED reform for vans, published in May 2018. The response will set out proposals to introduce environmental incentives from April 2021. Bands and rates will be set out ahead of Finance Bill 2019-20.

Vehicle Excise Duty (VED): Blood Bikes – To align the tax treatment of the transportation of blood and medical supplies by the national charity Blood Bikes with other emergency vehicles, the government will introduce an exemption for the purpose-built vehicles operated by Blood Bikes from April 2020.

Company Vehicles

Company vehicles – From 6 April 2019 fuel benefit charges will increase in line with RPI and the van benefit charge will increase in line with CPI.

Housing

Housing Investment

Delivering housing investment – At Autumn Budget 2017, the government announced over £15 billion of new financial support, bringing total support for housing to at least £44 billion over a five-year period. The Budget announces further progress to implement this commitment, including:

  • £291 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund, funded by the NPIF, to unlock 18,000 new homes in East London through improvements to the Docklands Light Railway
  • the British Business Bank will deliver a new scheme providing guarantees to support up to £1 billion of lending to SME housebuilders
  • providing £653 million to 2021-22 for strategic partnerships with nine housing associations to deliver over 13,000 homes
  • £75 million from the Home Building Fund for St Modwen plc, to fund infrastructure to build over 13,000 new homes
  • a new five-year strategic business plan for Homes England, to be published on 30 October 2018

Housing investment for the long term – In September 2018, the government announced £2 billion new funding in the Affordable Homes Programme to give some housing associations long-term funding certainty to 2028-29. The government announces in this Budget that:

  • the Housing Revenue Account cap that controls local authority borrowing for house building will be abolished from 29 October 2018 in England, enabling councils to increase house building to around 10,000 homes per year. The Welsh Government is taking immediate steps to lift the cap in Wales
  • the Housing Infrastructure Fund, funded by the NPIF, will increase by £500 million to a total £5.5 billion, unlocking up to 650,000 new homes
Strategic housing deals

Strategic housing deals – The government will make £10 million capacity funding available to support ambitious housing deals with authorities in areas of high housing demand to deliver above their Local Housing Need.

Help to Buy Equity Loan

Help to Buy Equity Loan – The Help to Buy Equity Loan was introduced in 2013 to support the housing market in challenging conditions. By March 2021, the government expects to have invested around £22 billion in the scheme, supporting up to 360,000 households into homeownership. Conditions in the market have improved since 2013: there is a growing number of high Loan to Value products available to first-time buyers, and housing supply continues to increase. To ensure future support is targeted at those who need most help into homeownership, the Budget announces that from April 2021, a new Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme will run for 2 years before closing in March 2023. The new scheme will be available for first-time buyers only, and for houses with a market value up to new regional property price caps, as set out in Table 4.2. These caps are set at 1.5 times the current forecast regional average first-time buyer price, up to a maximum of £600,000 in London. The government does not intend to introduce a further Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme after March 2023.

Pensions & Savings

Lifetime allowance for pensions – The lifetime allowance for pension savings will increase in line with CPI for 2019-20, rising to £1,055,000.

Starting rate for savings – The band of savings income that is subject to the 0% starting rate will be kept at its current level of £5,000 for 2019-20.

Individual Savings Account (ISA) annual subscription limits – The adult ISA annual subscription limit for 2019-20 will remain unchanged at £20,000. The annual subscription limit for Junior ISAs for 2019-20 will be uprated in line with CPI to £4,368.

Child Trust Funds – The government will publish a consultation in 2019 on draft regulations for maturing Child Trust Fund accounts. The annual subscription limit for Child Trust Funds for 2019-20 will be uprated in line with CPI to £4,368.

Business

Annual Investment Allowance (AIA)

Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) – The government will increase the Annual Investment Allowance to £1 million for all qualifying investment in plant and machinery made on or after 1 January 2019 until 31 December 2020, to help stimulate business investment.

Structures and buildings allowance (SBA)

Structures and buildings allowance (SBA) – New non-residential structures and buildings will be eligible for a 2% capital allowance where all the contracts for the physical construction works are entered into on or after 29 October 2018. This addresses a significant gap in the UK’s current capital allowances regime, and will improve the international competitiveness of the UK’s tax system.

Capital Allowances

Capital allowances special rate reduction (8% to 6%) – From April 2019, the capital allowances special rate for qualifying plant and machinery assets will be reduced from 8% to 6% to more closely match average accounts depreciation.

Entrepreneurs’ Relief

Entrepreneurs’ Relief: minimum qualifying period – To support longer-term business investments, from 6 April 2019 the minimum period throughout which the qualifying conditions for relief must be met will be extended from 12 months to 24 months.

Digital services tax (DST)

Digital services tax (DST) – From April 2020, the government will introduce a new 2% tax on the revenues of certain digital businesses to ensure that the amount of tax paid in the UK is reflective of the value they derive from their UK users. The tax will:

  • Apply to revenues generated from the provision of the following business activities: search engines, social media platforms and online marketplaces
  • Apply to revenues from those activities that are linked to the participation of UK users, subject to a £25 million per annum allowance
  • Only apply to groups that generate global revenues from in-scope business activities in excess of £500 million per annum
  • Include a safe harbour provision that exempts loss-makers and reduces the effective rate of tax on businesses with very low profit margins
Corporate capital loss restriction

Corporate capital loss restriction – To ensure that large companies pay tax when they make significant capital gains, the government will bring the tax treatment of corporate capital losses into line with the treatment of income losses. From 1 April 2020, the government will restrict the proportion of annual capital gains that can be relieved by brought-forward capital losses to 50%. The measure will include an allowance that gives companies unrestricted use of up to £5 million capital or income losses each year, meaning that 99% of companies will be unaffected.60 The government will consult on the detailed design of this change and legislate in Finance Bill 2019-20. The measure will be subject to anti-avoidance rules that are to apply with immediate effect.

Value Added Tax

VAT registration threshold

VAT registration threshold – Alongside the Budget, the government is publishing a response to the call for evidence on the design of the VAT threshold. The responses to the call for evidence did not provide a clear option for reform. The VAT threshold will therefore be maintained at the current level of £85,000 for a further 2 years until April 2022.

VAT and vouchers

VAT and vouchers – Following consultation, the government will legislate in Finance Bill 2018-19 to implement EU legislation which ensures that the correct amount of VAT is charged on what the customer pays, irrespective of whether payment is with a voucher or other means of payment.

VAT fraud in labour provision in the construction sector

VAT fraud in labour provision in the construction sector – As announced at Autumn Budget 2017, and following consultation, the government will introduce a VAT domestic reverse charge to prevent VAT losses through so-called ‘Missing Trader’ fraud. This occurs when traders collect VAT on their sales but go missing before passing that VAT on to HMRC. This will shift responsibility for paying VAT along the supply chain to remove the opportunity for it to be stolen by those traders. The new rules will have effect on and after 1 October 2019 and the government is publishing secondary legislation alongside the Budget to implement this change.

VAT and higher education

VAT and higher education – The government will amend VAT law to ensure continuity of VAT treatment for English higher education providers under the Higher Education and Research Act by enabling bodies registered with the Office for Students in the Approved (fee cap) category to exempt supplies of education.

Alternative method of VAT collection

Alternative method of VAT collection: ‘split payment’ – To reduce online VAT fraud by third country sellers and improve how VAT is collected on cross-border e-commerce, the government is looking at a split payment model. Following the consultation launched at Spring Statement 2018, the government is publishing a response at the Budget. An Industry Working Group will also be established to address some of the main challenges associated with this policy through close cooperation with stakeholders.

Training & Education

Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships – The government will introduce a package of reforms to strengthen the role of employers in the apprenticeship programme, so they can develop the skills they need to succeed. As part of this:

  • the government will make up to £450 million available to enable levy paying employers to transfer up to 25% of their funds to pay for apprenticeship training in their supply chains
  • the government will provide up to £240 million, to halve the co-investment rate for apprenticeship training to 5%
  • the government will also provide up to £5 million to the Institute for Apprenticeships and National Apprenticeship Service in 2019-20, to identify gaps in the training provider market and increase the number of employer-designed apprenticeship standards available to employers. All new apprentices will start on these new, higher-quality courses from September 2020
  • the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury and the Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills will work with a range of employers and providers to consider how they are responding to the apprenticeship levy across different sectors and regions in England, as well as the future strengthened role of apprenticeships in the post-2020 skills landscape
National Retraining Scheme

National Retraining Scheme – The government will work with employers to give workers the opportunity to upskill or retrain. The Budget allocates £100 million for the first phase of the National Retraining Scheme (NRS). This will include a new careers guidance service with expert advice to help people identify work opportunities in their area, and state‑of‑the‑art courses combining online learning with traditional classroom teaching to develop key transferable skills. The National Retraining Partnership between the government, the Confederation of British Industry and the Trades Union Congress will focus on job-specific retraining in phase two.

Skills pilots

Skills pilots – The government will fund £20 million of skills pilots. This will include:

  • a new £3 million pilot to help employers in Greater Manchester and surrounding areas to address local digital skills gaps through short training courses.
  • a £10 million pilot in Greater Manchester, working with the Federation of Small Businesses, to test what forms of government support are most effective in increasing training levels for the self-employed.
  • £7 million match funding alongside employers to provide on-the-job training to young people not currently in employment, education or training in Greater Manchester, and to move them into sustainable career paths with employers.
T levels

T levels – The government will provide £38 million of capital funding to support implementation of the first three T levels in 2020 across 52 providers.

Post-18 education and funding

Post-18 education and funding – The government’s review into the post-18 education and funding system in England will ensure that all students are given a genuine choice between high-quality technical, vocational and academic routes in a system accessible to all; students and taxpayers are getting value for money; and employers can access the skilled workforce they need. As part of the review, the government will receive advice from an independent panel, chaired by Philip Augar. The panel will report to ministers at an interim stage before the government concludes the overall review.

Human capital

Human capital – The government is working with the ONS to better understand how its investment in people helps improve their earning and skills potential. The ONS will consult on how to further measure human capital, and will convene an international meeting of experts in London later this year.

Property Tax & Rates

High Street Business Rates

To provide upfront support through the business rates system, the government is cutting bills by one-third for retail properties with a rateable value below £51,000, benefiting up to 90% of retail properties, for 2 years from April 2019, subject to state aid limits.

In the longer term, to support a sustainable transformation of high streets, the Plan includes a £675 million Future High Streets Fund, planning reform, a High Streets Task Force to support local leadership, and funding to strengthen community assets, including the restoration of historic buildings on high streets.

Public Lavatories Relief

Business rates public lavatories relief – The government will introduce 100% business rates relief for all public lavatories to help keep these important local amenities open.

Business Rates Local Newspaper Discount

Business rates local newspaper discount – The government will continue the £1,500 business rates discount for office space occupied by local newspapers in 2019-20.

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) and first-time buyers relief

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) and first-time buyers relief – The government will extend first-time buyers relief in England and Northern Ireland so that all qualifying shared ownership property purchasers can benefit, whether or not the purchaser elects to pay SDLT on the market value of the property. This change will apply to relevant transactions with an effective date on or after 29 October 2018, and will also be backdated to 22 November 2017 so that those eligible who have not previously claimed first-time buyers relief will be able to amend their return to claim a refund.

Consultation on SDLT charge for non-residents – The government will publish a consultation in January 2019 on a SDLT surcharge of 1% for non-residents buying residential property in England and Northern Ireland.

Capital Gains Tax

Capital gains tax – To better target private residence relief at owner occupiers, from April 2020 the government will reform lettings relief so that it only applies in circumstances where the owner of the property is in shared occupancy with the tenant. The final period exemption will also be reduced from 18 months to 9 months. The government will consult on these changes. There will be no changes to the 36 months final period exemption available to disabled people or those in a care home.

Environment

Single-use Plastics

Following the government’s call for evidence, the government will take action on the problem of single-use plastics waste. This forms part of the government’s wider strategy to address plastics waste, with further detail to be set out in the Resources and Waste Strategy later this year. This will address the current situation where recycling rates of plastic are too low, plastic producers use little recycled plastic and some problematic items are rarely recycled and often end up in the natural environment. The Budget also announces funding for plastics and waste innovation.

Plastic packaging – To reduce the problem of excessive and environmentally harmful plastic packaging, and incentivise manufacturers to use recycled plastic, the government will:

  • introduce a tax on the production and import of plastic packaging from April 2022. Subject to consultation, this tax will apply to plastic packaging which does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic, to transform financial incentives for manufacturers to produce more sustainable packaging.
  • reform the Packaging Producer Responsibility System, which will aim to increase producer responsibility for the costs of their packaging waste, including plastic. This system will provide an incentive for producers to design packaging that is easier to recycle and penalise the use of difficult to recycle packaging, such as black plastics

Disposable cups – The government recognises the problems caused by disposable cups, which are difficult to recycle and often littered. The government has concluded that a levy on all cups would not at this time be effective in encouraging widespread reuse. Businesses are already taking steps to limit their environmental impact, but the government expects industry to go further and will return to the issue if sufficient progress is not made. In the meantime, the government will look in the Resources and Waste Strategy at the best way to tackle the environmental impact of cups.

Indirect Taxes

Alcohol duty rates and bands

Alcohol duty rates and bands – Duty rates on beer, most cider and spirits will be frozen. Duty on most wine and higher strength sparkling cider will rise by RPI inflation from 1 February 2019. The government will review the current Small Brewers Relief to ensure it is supporting growth in the sector.

Tobacco duty rates

Tobacco duty rates – Duty rates on all tobacco products will increase by two percentage points above RPI inflation until the end of this Parliament. Hand rolling tobacco will increase by an additional one percentage point. These changes will come into effect from 6pm on 29 October 2018. To signal its intent to put an end to the illicit trade in all its forms, the government will act on the recommendations of the recent All Party Parliamentary Group report by supporting the creation of a UK-wide Anti-Illicit Trade Group. This will bring together senior officials, representing each of the four parts of the United Kingdom, to share best practice and develop a national strategy for tackling this criminal activity and the societal ills that it fuels.

Minimum Excise Tax – The Minimum Excise Tax for cigarettes will rise to £293.95 per 1,000 cigarettes. This will take effect from 6pm on 29 October 2018.

Tobacco for heating – As announced at Spring Statement 2018, the government will legislate in Finance Bill 2018-19 for a new duty rate for tobacco for heating. In these products processed tobacco is heated (but not burned like conventional tobacco) to produce, or flavour, vapour. This will be set at the same level as hand rolling tobacco and take effect on 1 July 2019.

Gaming duty

Gaming duty accounting periods and bands – As announced in HMRC’s consultation response in July 2018, the government will legislate in Finance Bill 2018-19 to remove the requirement for casinos to pay gaming duty on account and to allow the carry forward of losses between accounting periods. The return period for gaming duty will remain 6 months. The bands to determine payment of gaming duty will be frozen from April 2019, while the changes to gaming duty accounting periods are implemented.

Remote Gaming Duty – As announced in May 2018, in order to ensure funding for public services is maintained following the implementation of a £2 maximum stake on B2 machine games, the rate of Remote Gaming Duty will increase to 21%. Both the reduction in maximum stake and increased duty rate will come into effect in October 2019.

Welfare

Universal Credit

Changes to the welfare system since 2010 have brought welfare spending back under control for the first time in decades. Between 1997 and 2010, costs rose unsustainably – by £84 billion in today’s prices.91 The old welfare system also trapped people out of work, because it did not always pay to work. The old welfare system is being replaced with Universal Credit – a simpler system in which it pays to work, where the most vulnerable in society are protected, and which is fair to the taxpayer.

The government is introducing Universal Credit slowly and carefully, and has made changes where necessary. Ahead of the further expansion of Universal Credit, the Budget announces other changes to ensure the system works for everyone.

Universal Credit Work Allowance increase

Universal Credit Work Allowance increase – The Budget announces that the amount that households with children, and people with disabilities can earn before their Universal Credit award begins to be withdrawn – the Work Allowance – will be increased by £1,000 from April 2019. This means that 2.4 million households will keep an extra £630 of income each year.

Extra help for households moving onto Universal Credit

Extra help for households moving onto Universal Credit – The government has listened to representations made by stakeholders on Universal Credit, and the Budget announces an extensive package of extra support for claimants as they make the transition to Universal Credit.

Building on the Autumn Budget 2017 announcement that Housing Benefit claimants will receive an additional payment providing a fortnight’s worth of support during their transition to Universal Credit, the government will extend this provision to cover the income-related elements of Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance, and Income Support. This will be effective from July 2020.

To support the transition to Universal Credit for all self-employed people, the government is also extending the 12-month grace period (the period before the Minimum Income Floor applies) to all gainfully self-employed people; giving claimants time to grow their businesses to a sustainable level.92 This will be introduced from July 2019 and implemented fully from September 2020.

From October 2019, the government will reduce the maximum rate at which deductions can be made from a Universal Credit award from 40% to 30% of the standard allowance. This will ensure that those on Universal Credit are supported to repay debts in a more sustainable and manageable way. From October 2021, the government will also increase the period over which advances will be recovered, from 12 to 16 months.

Funding for previously announced measures

Funding for previously announced measures – In addition, the Budget provides funding for the announcements made by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in April and June 2018 to support the roll out of Universal Credit. This provided additional protections for welfare claimants, including: enhancements to transitional protection for people moving onto Universal Credit; extending existing support for non-parental carers and adopters in tax credits and Universal Credit; and enhanced protections for those currently receiving the Severe Disability Premium to provide additional support as Universal Credit is implemented.

The government will deliver these changes slowly and carefully. In response to feedback on Universal Credit, the implementation schedule has been updated: it will begin in July 2019, as planned, but will end in December 2023. The scope of the surplus earnings policy in Universal Credit will also be temporarily reduced: it will continue to affect large earnings spikes (above £2,500) until April 2020, when it will revert to affecting earnings spikes of £300.

Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit – The government continues to ensure that housing benefit is targeted most effectively to support those who need it. This includes:

  • Revising the timetable for transferring rent support from Housing Benefit to Pension Credit – The government will delay the transfer of rent support from Housing Benefit to Pension Credit by 3 years, to ensure that this transfer aligns with the full implementation of Universal Credit.
  • Retaining funding for supported housing in welfare – As announced in August 2018, the government has decided to retain funding for supported housing within the welfare system, rather than moving to a local funding model.
  • Reinstating automatic entitlement to housing support for 18 to 21 year olds – As announced by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in March 2018, the government will reinstate automatic entitlement for housing support for 18 to 21 year olds. This group will therefore be entitled to claim support for housing costs under Universal Credit.
Parental bereavement leave and pay

Parental bereavement leave and pay – The government will introduce a new statutory entitlement to two weeks’ of leave for employees who suffer the death of a child under 18, or a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy. Employed parents will also be able to claim pay for this period, subject to meeting eligibility criteria. This entitlement will come into force in April 2020.

Extension to the closure of childcare vouchers to new entrants

Extension to the closure of childcare vouchers to new entrants – The government listened to the concerns of parents and MPs about the transition from childcare vouchers to Tax-Free Childcare and took the decision to keep childcare vouchers open to new entrants for a further 6 months, until October 2018. This allowed more time for Tax-Free Childcare to bed in and for families to understand their entitlement.

Inclusion of Dupuytren’s contracture in Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit

Inclusion of Dupuytren’s contracture in Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit – Dupuytren’s contracture will be added to the existing list of over 70 prescribed diseases for which Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit is payable, as recommended by the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council. Eligible claimants are expected to gain, on average, over £1,200 per year.

Tax Avoidance, Evasion & Compliance

Capital gains tax: tackling misuse of Entrepreneurs’ Relief

Capital gains tax: tackling misuse of Entrepreneurs’ Relief – In addition to the current requirements on share capital and voting rights, from 29 October 2018 shareholders must also be entitled to at least 5% of the distributable profits and net assets of a company to claim the relief. This is to address an identified abuse of the current rules.

Profit fragmentation

Profit fragmentation – As announced at Autumn Budget 2017, the government will legislate in Finance Bill 2018-19 to introduce targeted legislation that aims to prevent UK businesses from avoiding UK tax by arranging for their UK-taxable business profits to accrue to entities resident in territories where significantly lower tax is paid than in the UK. The taxable UK profits will be increased to the actual, commercial level.

Reforming Stamp taxes on shares consideration rules

Reforming Stamp taxes on shares consideration rules – The government will consult on aligning the consideration rules of Stamp Duty and Stamp Duty Reserve Tax and introducing a general market value rule for transfers between connected persons. Reforming consideration rules will simplify Stamp taxes on shares and prevent contrived arrangements being used to avoid tax. From 29 October 2018, a targeted market value rule will be introduced for listed shares transferred to connected companies to prevent forestalling.

Preventing abuse of R&D tax relief for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

Preventing abuse of R&D tax relief for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – To help prevent abuse of the payable credit, from 1 April 2020, the amount of payable R&D tax credit that a qualifying loss-making company can receive in any tax year will be restricted to three times the company’s total PAYE and NICs liability for that year. This will ensure the relief is robust against identified abuse, including fraud, following the prevention by HMRC of fraudulent claims worth £300 million.68 The government will consult on this change.

VAT grouping

VAT grouping – The government will legislate in Finance Bill 2018-19 to extend the eligibility to join a VAT group to certain non-corporate entities. In addition, revised VAT grouping guidance will be issued to:

  • amend the definition of ‘bought in services’ to ensure that such services are subject to UK VAT
  • provide clarity to businesses on HMRC’s protection of revenue powers and treatment of UK fixed establishments

These guidance changes will be published in draft and come into effect from 1 April 2019.

VAT Specified Supplies Order

VAT Specified Supplies Order – As announced in July 2018, the government will legislate to prevent a version of VAT avoidance (known as ‘looping’) that involves UK insurers setting up associates in non-VAT territories and using these associates to supply their UK customers. This allows them to reclaim VAT on costs that UK based competitors are unable to reclaim.

Unfulfilled supplies

Unfulfilled supplies – The government will amend rules from 1 March 2019 to bring consistency to the VAT treatment of prepayments. This change will bring all prepayments for goods and services into the scope of VAT where customers have been charged VAT but have failed to collect what they have paid for and have not received a refund.

Regulation 38

Regulation 38 – The government will introduce stricter rules for how and when adjustments to VAT should be made following a reduction in price. Secondary legislation will tighten definitions for Regulation 38 and ensure a credit note is issued to customers. This will guarantee businesses are transparent and do not benefit from VAT that is due to the consumer or the Exchequer.

Electronic sales suppression (ESS)

Electronic sales suppression (ESS) – The government will publish a call for evidence later in the year on ESS. ESS refers to the misuse of electronic point of sale functions (i.e. till systems), which is undertaken by a minority of businesses in order to hide or reduce the value of individual transactions and the corresponding tax liabilities.

Protecting your taxes in insolvency

Protecting your taxes in insolvency – From 6 April 2020, when a business enters insolvency, more of the taxes paid in good faith by its employees and customers, and temporarily held in trust by the business, will go to fund public services rather than being distributed to other creditors. This reform will only apply to taxes collected and held by businesses on behalf of other taxpayers (VAT, PAYE Income Tax, employee NICs, and Construction Industry Scheme deductions). The rules will remain unchanged for taxes owed by businesses themselves, such as Corporation Tax and employer NICs.

Tax abuse and insolvency

Tax abuse and insolvency – Following Royal Assent of Finance Bill 2019-20, directors and other persons involved in tax avoidance, evasion or phoenixism will be jointly and severally liable for company tax liabilities, where there is a risk that the company may deliberately enter insolvency.

Conditionality: hidden economy

Conditionality: hidden economy – Following the consultation ‘Tackling the hidden economy: public sector licensing’ published in December 2017, the government will consider legislating at Finance Bill 2019-20 to introduce a tax registration check linked to licence renewal processes for some public sector licences. Applicants would need to provide proof they are correctly registered for tax in order to be granted licences. This would make it more difficult to operate in the hidden economy, helping to level the playing field for compliant businesses.

International tax enforcement: disclosable arrangements

International tax enforcement: disclosable arrangements – The government is enacting new legislation to allow the introduction of international disclosure rules about offshore structures that could avoid tax, or could be misused to evade tax.

Offshore tax compliance strategy

Offshore tax compliance strategy – The government will publish an updated offshore tax compliance strategy. This will build on the substantial progress the UK has made in tackling offshore tax evasion and non-compliance since the government’s previous strategy was published in 2014.

Other Measures Announced

Charity Taxes

Reducing administrative burdens on charities – From April 2019, the government will introduce a package of measures to reduce administrative burdens on charities. These will:

  • Increase the upper limit for trading that charities can carry out without incurring a tax liability from £5,000 to £8,000 where turnover is under £20,000, and from £50,000 to £80,000 where turnover exceeds £200,000
  • Allow charity shops using the Retail Gift Aid Scheme to send letters to donors every three years when their goods raise less than £20 a year, rather than every tax year.
  • Increase the individual donation limit under the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme to £30, which applies to small collections where it is impractical to obtain a Gift Aid declaration
Railcards

A new railcard for all young people aged 26 to 30, available nationally by the end of the year. The first digital only railcard will offer up to a 1/3 off most rail travel.


What They Said

Philip Hammond | Chancellor of the Exchequer

"it was a budget for hard working families, who live their lives far from Westminster and care little for the twists and turns of Westminster politics. People who get up early in the morning to: open up factories, shops, and building sites; to drop their kids off at school; to check on elderly relatives and neighbours. The strivers, the grafters and the carers who are the backbone of our communities and our economy. People who ask only of Government that we protect the jobs that put food on their table. That we deliver the public services their families rely on and that we do it efficiently, minimising the amount of tax we need to take from their hard-earned wages. People who we, on this side of the House, are proud to represent. So I say to them; This Budget is unashamedly for you."

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John McDonnell | Labour’s Shadow Chancellor

"We now have it confirmed that the pledge to end austerity was a broken promise, like the whole budget. It is now clear austerity is not over, the cuts to social security will continue and Philip Hammond gave no assurances that departments won’t face further cuts. Eight years of destructive austerity has damaged our economy, damaged people’s incomes and damaged our essential services. There is nothing in today’s budget to repair the damage to schools, the police and local councils. The money promised for Universal Credit is less than a third of the £7bn of social security cuts still to come and today’s announcement on work allowances reverses just over half the cuts made in 2015. While hitting those most vulnerable in our society, the Tories will have handed out £110bn in corporate tax giveaways by the end of this Parliament. This is immoral and Labour will end this unfairness, end austerity and rebuild Britain for the many, not the few.”

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Carolyn Fairbairn | CBI Director-General

“This was a rock-solid budget, bringing more treats than tricks for business. It recognises the enormous contribution enterprise has made to balancing the UK’s books through jobs, pay and tax and responds to many of the recommendations that firms have made. But while the Chancellor has reduced some of biggest barriers to growth, he has missed some opportunities. That said, the new investment in broadband, research, housing and infrastructure will help tackle the UK’s glaring regional equalities head on. On the apprenticeship levy; Ongoing reform of the apprenticeship levy and collaboration with business on retraining reflects long-standing business advice and will help individuals adapt to a fast-changing world of work.

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Adam Marshall | Director-General of the British Chambers of Commerce

“In an atmosphere of unprecedented uncertainty and heightened political noise, the Chancellor has demonstrated that he is listening to business concerns by delivering a Budget that supports investment and growth. The Chancellor responded directly to the BCC’s calls for bold incentives to turbo-charge business investment, for steps to support high street businesses struggling with business rates, and for measures that cut the cost of apprenticeships for SMEs. Philip Hammond has sent important and positive signals to businesses across the UK, many of whom have been wavering on investment and hiring. Crucially, the Chancellor has avoided major increases to business tax to fund the government’s spending priorities, which would have undermined the confidence boost to firms from his commitments to supporting enterprise and growth.”

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