Jeremy Hunt delivered his second fiscal statement on 15 March 2023. This was a much calmer time than his previous statement in November 2022, given against the financial chaos of his predecessors Budget under the ill-fated Liz Truss Premiership.
This Budget was a relatively sober statement and was light on tax measures, many of the changes applicable from April 2023 having been preannounced in the statement last November.
The Budget was heavy on investment opportunities to encourage businesses to invest and employ people. There were welcome attempts to try and get more people into the labour market.
There was good news on the independent inflation forecasts. These expect UK inflation to be 2.9% by end of 2023 from the 10.7% at the end of 2022.
More concerning was the very limited expectations on reducing government borrowing in the next 5 years.
This newsletter is designed to give you the key points that arose from the statement. If you have any specific questions or comments, please do contact us.
The full government statement can be found here:
The key changes were as follows:
Energy Price cap
The government commitment to households to cap an average user of gas and electricity bills to £2,500 per annum is to continue beyond the original end date of 31 March 2023, to 30 June 2023.
There was no announcement on any continuation of support in this area for businesses, so the existing support is likely to end on 31 March 2023.
There were no changes to the Income tax changes previously announced. Those with Income over £125,140 will see tax increase significantly.
As a reminder the relevant bands from 6 April 2023 for a UK resident (NB Scottish residents have different bands) will be:
Rate on band
0 - 12,570
12,571 - 50,270
50,271 - 100,000
100,001 - 125,140
125,141 and above
Please note that for income, between £100,000 and £125,140 you lose £1 of your tax free personal allowance for every £2 of income in this range thus creating a punitive tax rate in this income band.
For clients that receive dividends the first £2,000 are not taxed – this band is reducing to £1,000 from 6 April 2023 and £500 from 6 April 2024.
The annual allowance for pension contribution is increased from April 2023 to £60,000 per year from £40,000 per year. However, the existing tapers for those with income above £200,000 still exist.
The contribution limit on those already drawing pension benefits was also lifted to £10,000 per year from £4,000 per year.
The Lifetime limit on a pension fund is to be abolished from 6 April 2024 so this will encourage more regular lifetime saving into a pension.
Capital Gains Tax
As with Income Tax there were no changes to the previously announced measures. The Capital Gains Tax Annual Exempt Amount will reduce from the current £12,300 to £6,000 from 6 April 2023 and to £3,000 from 6 April 2024. Clients with assets they are considering selling, or those with investment portfolios may want to consider accelerating sales to take advantage of the higher allowance.
The Chancellor glossed over the significant Corporation tax changes effective from 1 April 2023.
Up to 31 March 2023, the rate is 19% on all profits. From 1 April 2023 only the first £50,000 of profits will have a rate of 19% - between £50,000 and £250,000 the rate will be an effective rate of 26.5% and above £250,000 the rate is 25%. Clients that operate in groups should be aware that these bands are apportioned to each company in the group. Therefore, those clients operating with group structures should review their business structure prior to 31 March 2023 to ensure it is not causing a tax detriment.
Further those clients that hold only investments in a company (excluding property rentals) should be aware they will pay tax at the full rate of 25% on profits.
One useful change to Corporation Tax is the introduction of full Capital expensing for plant and machinery from 1 April 2023. This replaces the Superdeduction that has been in place for the last 2 years. This removes the previous £1m per annum cap on expenditure at which an annual writing down allowance of only 18% was available.
The Chancellor announced 12 new Investment Zones to be created across the UK. These zones give a single 5 year tax offer matching that in Freeports, consisting of enhanced rates of Capital Allowance, Structures and Buildings Allowance, and relief from Stamp Duty Land Tax, Business Rates and Employer National Insurance Contributions.
The eight English Zones have already been announced to be located in:
• the proposed East Midlands Mayoral Combined County Authority
• Greater Manchester Mayoral Combined Authority
• Liverpool City Region Mayoral Combined Authority
• the proposed North East Mayoral Combined Authority
• South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority
• Tees Valley Mayoral Combined Authority
• West Midlands Mayoral Combined Authority
• West Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority
However, we are yet to know exactly which specific areas in those local authorities.
There will also be a zone in each of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The Chancellor announced that 30 hours of government childcare will be provided for all children of working parents from 9 months old up to starting school at 4 years old. This is an improvement from the previous 30 hours free for only 3 and 4 year olds.
There was also a longer-term commitment to ensure all primary schools have pre and post school wrap around care by September 2026.
This is designed to ensure that more people can get back in to work.
Key will be ensuring that the sector can deliver these extra places and that the government fund them correctly.
There were no changes announced to VAT or VAT rates. The Chancellor confirmed that the registration limit will remain at £85,000 until March 2026. As prices rise due to inflationary pressures this will bring more businesses in to the VAT system, do contact us if you are close to the registration threshold.
National Minimum Wage
Not announced in the Budget but a general reminder that there are significant increases to the National Minimum Wage from 1 April 2023
These changes take the rates to :
Rate per hour (£)
aged 23 and over
21-22 year olds
18-20 year olds
16-17 year olds
Given these rises employers should ensure that are paying at least these rates effective 1 April 2023.
Please do get in touch with us if any of the measures above impact you or you would like further explanation on how they may impact you. If you are struggling with the current economic situation and the impact on personal or business cash flow please do get in touch – we will be able to help make a plan to get through these tough times.