Spring Budget 2020
“Getting it done” was the constant refrain of Chancellor Rishi Sunak during his first Budget, delivered on 11 March 2020. An ironic phrase given this budget was originally scheduled for November 2019. The original Budget being delayed by the election. Of course, that original Budget was due to have been delivered by Sajid Javid who resigned from Government just four weeks ago.
It has been a very long time since the last Budget announcement on 29 October 2018 and so much has happened politically since then it was good to get some flesh on the bones from this government.
The new Chancellor certainly made some bold promises and has significantly loosened the purse strings with some eye watering amounts to be spent on new infrastructure over the next 5 years. Naturally this will be funded by borrowing and the Government is taking a bet that long term interest rates will continue to be low. Construction firms will be delighted with the Road, Rail and broadband infrastructure commitments. Cynics will question whether the Government can actually spend the money in the timeframe given.
One surprise on the morning of the Budget was the significant Base Rate cut by the Bank of England from 0.75% to 0.25%.
Economic growth forecasts were given but have not factored in any impact of the Coronavirus on the economy. That said these forecasts were lower than previously announced and, by historical standards are very low. For 2020 it is expected to be 1.1%, 2021 1.8%, 2022 1.5%, 2023 1.3% and 2024 1.4%.
Oddly, there was little mention of the impact of an agreement (or not) with the EU on future trade relations after 1 January 2021, the Chancellor was concentrating more on the immediate threat of Coronavirus.
There was further welcome news on the reduction of business rates to small retailers and the leisure and hospitality industry.
There was bad news on Entrepreneur’s Relief with the Lifetime Allowance of gains reduced from £10m to £1m. This announcement applies immediately from Budget day.
Our main ‘take-aways’ from the Budget are:
There are no changes to the personal allowance and Basic Rate Band which stay at £12,500 and £37,500 respectively.
The Capital Gains tax allowance has been increased to £12,300 from £12,000.
For those clients operating a low salary high dividend remuneration, their salary income can increase to £732 per month (£8,788 per annum) from 6 April 2020, before attracting a National Insurance charge.
Some clients may be happy to pay a higher amount of £9,500 per annum, or £792 per month but this will incur an employer’s NI charge and thus making regular payments to HMRC (these payments are avoided when the salary is £8,788).
There were no significant VAT changes announced.
As expected, the Government left Corporation Tax at 19% - the reduction to 17% has been cancelled.
There was a minor change to loss relief on Chargeable (Capital) Losses. Set off of those losses against future gains will be restricted to 50% of the gain.
There had been speculation that the Government may relax the new IR35 rules that apply from 6 April 2020 but nothing materialised. Those clients operating via a Limited Company and contracting to a Large or Medium sized company should be receiving notification from the end user about their status.
There were no changes to any of the taxation elements applying to property investors.
There were two elements of welcome news for employers, a temporary measure where Statutory Sick Pay paid for the first 14 days to employees off work due to Coronavirus will be paid by the Government. Practically this will be a reclaim against firstly the monthly PAYE bill and then in cash if that is used up. The second measure is an increase to the Employment Allowance for 2020/2021 from £3,000 to £4,000 for those employers that qualify.
Employers should also note the significant changes to the minimum wage from April 2020. These large rises may require a review of lower paid employers to ensure that they are paid enough.
|Age||Rate per hour(£)||Annual equivalent of a 35 hour week (£)||Rise|
|25 and over||8.72||15,870||4.6%|
The government are increasing the point at which tapering of the annual allowance comes in from £150,000 of annual income to £240,000. This is welcome to encourage people to save in their pensions.
Not in the Budget, but applicable from 6 April 2020 are the very favourable rules on buying electric vehicles by an employer and the advantageous personal tax system for three years. We have a detailed blog about this on our website here.
If you have any questions based upon anything in the Budget please do not hesitate to contact us.