A budget like no other

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Yesterday was Budget day and since we last wrote about it, a couple of important things have changed in the world.

Sajid Javid is no longer Chancellor of the Exchequer for one. He has been replaced by Rishi Sunak who delivered the Budget that will be forever associated with the second big change to the world, the advance of coronavirus.

Whatever Mr Javid had planned for the country’s finances has seemingly been hastily redrafted in the face of this global health crisis and there has been much in the Press about the impact to the NHS. We would like to focus on what matters to our members and their clients, virus related or not, so here are some of the highlights of the budget for your and your clients’ businesses and for your personal finances.

1. Business rates will be suspended for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses which have a rateable value less than £51,000 for the next twelve months and there will be a new pubs’ discount which will reduce eligible pubs’ (rateable value of less than £100,000) business rates’ bills by £5,000. There has been much talk of business rates crippling British High Streets so this is big news. It is only a temporary fix but Mr Sunak has disclosed that he will review business rates in more detail and report back in the autumn.

2. The Government will refund smaller businesses (less than 250 employees) for any self-isolation sick pay for up to 14 days.

3. Banks will offer loans of up to £1.2m to small business affected by coronavirus and Government will cover 80% of their losses.

4. Those in the hospitality industry received another boost with the no increase in beer, cider, spirits and wine duties.

5. If you have a client in the building trade then this was a good budget for them as the Chancellor announced that he wants to “get Britain building”, ploughing £600bn into the construction industry.

Personal finance
1. Statutory sick pay will be provided for anyone that is advised to self-isolate.

2. We’ll have more disposable income thanks to the ‘tampon tax’ being scrapped in 2021, frozen duties on alcohol and no increase in fuel duty but if you smoke then you will feel the pinch – a pack of 20 cigarettes is going up by 27p.

3. The National Insurance contributions’ threshold will be increased to £9,500 reducing tax for millions of workers. The National Living Wage increase scheduled for 1 April will go ahead as planned.

4. The thresholds for paying both the 20% and 40% rates of tax are frozen at £12,500 and £50,000.

5. Those working from home who can claim £4 off their income tax bill will be able to claim £6 going forwards.

This list is by no means exhaustive! As with any Budget, the ramifications may be complex for you, your business or that of your clients. We recommend that you consult your preferred media outlet for more detail information or in fact the Government’s website.
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