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The Chancellor's Budget - March 2024

Updated: Apr 18

We attach brief notes on the Chancellor's statement.

Many of the items will be clearer once time passes/the detailed policy documents are published .


Government Budget Statement

The government has an immovable date in front of it that it cannot fudge or duck - 28 January 2025.



Apparently Rishi is desperate to get the Borrowing requirement back to what is was when Rishi was Chancellor. (Only awful, not appalling), but as usual for politicians, Jeremy Hunt's claim is that he will achieve this in y5 of the illusory Fiscal Cycle, which dates back to the halcyon days of G Brown (remember him?). As long as you keep moving back your position in the cycle you never reach the appalling yr 4/5 when it's obvious to any numpty the government's blown it by miles. And will Jeremy be around in 2029 as Chancellor?

 

 

notes and comments

Abell Limited

 

 Government Budget Statement

March 2024

 

prepared by:-

ABELL LIMITED , with a little help from  friends.

 

Officially……

 

“THE GROWTH PLAN 2024 ”
– says Mr. J Hunt

 

Or …..

The current ‘pc’ mantra is to tax us to pay the bills, which is almost honest, as nothing is for free.

And of course further various tax breaks will be handed out in yet another Budget this autumn to convince us everything in our electrically heated garden is rosy, vote for Dishi’s re-election, and not to worry that fixing it has all been put on tick to mortgage my grandchildren’s children’s  future.

 

 

 

 

We set out below comments on the first Budget of 2024 presented by our Chancellor on 6th March 2024.

The borrowing problem hanging over the whole statement is to be fixed by an economy growing in overall size, and therefore reducing all the % numbers – but we normally achieve 1-2%pa anyway (despite politicians fiddling).

Apparently it’s not previously occurred to a government that growing the economy at a faster rate than 1-2% will help increase the tax take automatically.

Luckily the Labour Party has also decided this is our route to nirvana, but they haven’t explained how they are going to achieve this - basically it’s going to be by wishful thinking, as they say they will stick to the current showers’ spending plans. Sounds simples? And of curse don’t forget the Labour party has some key funders who will be very keen for a payback having funded the election campaign – where’s that money going to come from?


NB. Don’t get too hyper about some of the Budget announcements as they’re way in the future. So the actual decisions will be taken by whomever is residing in no.11 at the time in March 2025+.


And the commentators all droning with Tables about tax increases are mixing things up. Personal income tax thresholds were not changed in the Budget - but due to inflation, a salary of £100k in real terms will pay a bit more when compared with a year earlier etc., but not in cash terms, They will in fact benefit from the 2% NIC cut. So it’s all smoke and mirrors really.

 

Budget news

ü    The VAT threshold will rise very slightly from £85,000 to £90,000, with effect from 1 April 2024. This is the result of Fedn of Small Businesses (don’t forget to join) campaigning extensively for a rise in the threshold, as the Chancellor acknowledged in his statement.  A relatively small number of businesses will benefit from this, - as being successful, and having sales under £90k a year means you have a pretty high profit margin.


ü    NATIONAL INSURANCE

ü    Employee NICs will fall from 10 per cent to 8 per cent for the 24/25 tax year. This is 4% overall since 22/23 tax year. Two reductions within 6 months of each other!

ü    Self-employed National Insurance Contributions (NICs) will be reduced from eight per cent to six per cent, with effect from 6 April 2024.


Employee NI rate gyrations, Did you know?

To 5/4/2022: 12% over £9,568

6/4 to 5/7/2022: 13.25% over £9,880

6/7 to 5/11/2022: 13.25% over £12,570

6/11/2022 to 5/1/2024: 12% over £12,570

6/1 to 5/4/2024: 10% over £12,570

From 6/4/2024: 8% over £12,570

simples?


ü    RECOVERY LOAN SCHEME

ü    The scheme, originally set up to support small firms during the pandemic with Government-backed loans, will be extended by a further two years, until 2026. It will be renamed as the Growth Guarantee Scheme, in which the Government guarantees 70 per cent of loans of up to £2million. This may well help smaller businesses raise loans.


ü    DUTIES

ü    The current level of fuel duty will be frozen for 12 months – mad!

ü    Alcohol duty will be frozen at its current level until February 2025 – also mad.

ü    Fags no moves – madder.   But of course it’s election time.

ü    VAPE Duty coming – but way over the horizon

ü    An excise duty will be introduced on Vapes from October 2026, alongside a one-off increase in tobacco duty. But who knows who will be in charge of the Titanic by March 2026.


ü    AIR PASSENGER DUTY (APD)

ü    The 2025-26 APD rates for economy passengers will increase in line with the forecast RPI rate of inflation, rounded to the nearest pound. There will be an additional increase in APD for those flying premium classes, or those in our company jet.


ü    CREATIVE INDUSTRIES

ü    Several measures were announced by the Chancellor, including maintaining the current levels of Theatre Tax Relief permanently, and a 10-year 40 per cent relief on business rates for film studios in England, as these often cover large amounts of land. So buy a Studio, and sublet it to Amazon, and ‘forget’ to tell your Rating Authority? Barbie 28 here we go again


ü    The resented Non Doms regime is binned (unless you're a non-dom!) – but only from April 2025


ü    CHILDCARE Additional funding will be made available for childcare providers delivering parents’ free childcare entitlement in England, in a move the Government estimates will lead to 60,000 more parents entering the labour market over the next four years.

ü    The threshold at which the high income child benefit charge kicks in will rise from £50,000 to £60,000, with effect from April 2024. A longer term frig is coming once the techhies have worked out how to do it.


ü    HOLIDAY LETS

ü    Tax relief on furnished holiday lets will be scrapped but only from April 2025. This is designed to reduce demand on landlords buying homes to rent to holiday makers in holiday areas. This may well be a good idea, but if it hits the Tourism industry that pays the bills in holiday areas is it really?

The big impact of this change is that landlords who rent property normally get heavily restricted tax relief on the property mortgage to buy the property, whereas under the HLR scheme they still got full relief for interest costs, and in future they won't. HOWEVER, if you're a big cheese in the property world (2+ properties), why not chat to a (top) firm of accountants about incorporating yourself into a limited company, and then rock on.....


ü    TRAINING FOR SELF-EMPLOYED

ü    HMRC has published new guidance around the tax deductibility of training costs. This guidance ensures that updating existing skills, maintaining pace with technological advancements, or changes in industry practices, are allowable costs when calculating taxable profits. (no-brainer). Only HMRC would have ever thought these were not allowable expenses.


ü    ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI)

ü    Following recent studies on AI, the Government has announced a £7.4 million upskilling fund pilot that will help SMEs develop AI skills of the future.


ü    Capital Allowances 100% FYA up to £1m per year continues for foreseeable future.


ü    Stamp Duty exemption for people buying multiple dwellings at the same time (bit technical this) is abolished 1st June 2024. Bad news for Abell as our specialist unit will be shut down soon, and two staff lose their jobs.


ü          A new £5,000 ISA allowance is introduced from April as long as you buy UK company assets with it. Apparently this is about 0.2% of the value of transactions going through the UK Stock Market, so you judge whether moving one pebble on a beach will change its erosion status significantly. What is actually needed is tax incentives to force Pension funds/ Insurance Companies to buy UK shares, as that’s where all the dough is. Did you know that 55%+ of uk quoted shares are owned by overseas shareholders? Just think if the Insurance companies funds increased their uk investments from 2.5% to say 30%, what a difference that would make to the uk economy.


Who owns our shares?
Who owns our shares?

Oh, and of curse the news sneaked out this week by Nationwide that they are bizarrely buying Virgin Money reduces by 1 another good banking stock for them to invest in!


ü    Capital Gains Tax – the higher rate of Capital Gains Tax for residential property disposals will be cut from 28% to 24% from April 2024. This is designed to encourage landlords to sell up and release properties back into the homeowner market. Will this help reduce the extortionate level of rents in the private market? Unlikely. What we need is 10m off our population fairly quickly!


ü    Research & Development generous tax reliefs continue.


ü    Planning controls to be relaxed, to make it easier for builders to cover fields with houses – check out Great Dunmow as a hellish vision of the future.


ü    More New Investment Zones to be created with even fewer regulatory restrictions than the rest of the country. E.g. Rates and NIC exemptions. Apparently Canary Wharf is in need – who knew?


ü          If you’re a ‘loafer’, apparently they’re going to ask you more searching questions before handing out £loads in Benefits to ‘persuade’ you to get off your sofa and work.


ü    Remember most of what he waffled about ONLY applies to England. The subsidiaries just get a massive cheque to spend on what they fancy.


ü    GDP grew by 0.1% in 2023, but the unemployment rate has remained low by historical standards at 3.8% in Q4 2023, below the OBR’s November 2022 forecast of 4.6%, which is good to hear.

 

 

BAD NEWS

The official government summary of this lot of changes is “stick it on tick mostly”, instead of funding the tax decreases neutrally through new taxation.

×       The cost is being met through a mixture of other tax increases, higher government borrowing and improvements in the underlying forecast for borrowing (!!)

×       PSBR will be £bn no idea in 24/25, and £bn no idea even bigger in 25/26+, total government borrowing will be 99.99% of GDP fairly soon, unless the miracle being prayed for by the government happens.

“The government’s underlying debt was equivalent to 84.9% of GDP at the end of 2022/23. The OBR forecasts that it will increase each year before reaching 93.2% of GDP in 2027/28. It will then fall to 92.9% of GDP in 2028/29.”


×       So as a result of the giveaway budget, borrowing is predicted to go even higher for the foreseeable future.

×       If we’re lucky growth might amble along at 1.5% for the foreseeable future.

 



×       Inheritance tax starting band still stays at £325,000 for foreseeable future


×       Personal Tax rates 24/25 remain frozen.


×       No ‘Amazon’ tax being introduced yet to level up online vs. terrestrial base costs. This is a terrible omission – it really is not hard to fix this running sore, and get another £1bn+ a year in of tax for free without harming anyone that we actually care a fig about.


×       No targets set for Civil Servants to do a vaguely decent days work. DVLA/Passport Office to attend to their post, or HMRC to answer the phone the same day you call them etc.

×       or CoHo to reopen their offices, apparently covid still rampant on their premises uniquely.

Whereas Doctors now do have targets to see patients.

 

×       And of course no instant fix to the appalling Post Office scandal – see years of Private Eye ™ articles. All they have to do is send a cheque for £100k to each person next week, while the civil swervants take their time working out the final numbers by end of this year.


ü    the Corporation Tax ‘bonus’ for banks and oil companies will continue, so they will pay 8% more than normal companies in 23/24+.


ü    TAX-FREE SHOPPING to be reviewed again to see if restoring some of it will bring in more tax than we refund to all the Gucci loafer-buyers in Knightsbridge.

 

  

 

HM Treasury Document Executive Summary

Thanks UK Treasury©  and FSB particularly, for the data 

 

 

 

 

-end-

 

 


 

abell limited

chartered accountants

 

accounting for successes everywhere

 

 

 

 

phone +44(0)207 148 4785

 

 


These notes are subject to change in the light of errors being detected, or facts being found, on government websites ©MMXXIV Abell Limited.

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