The Chancellor Philip Hammond presented his budget today (22 November 2017). The main announcements are as follows:
- From today stamp duty is to be abolished for first time buyers purchasing a home valued at under £300,000. For first time buyers in London and other high value areas stamp duty will be waived on the first £300,000 for houses costing less than £500,000.
- Local authorities will be given the powers to apply a 100% premium to council tax on empty properties.
- Research and development tax credits will be increased to 12%.
- From April 2018 high polluting diesel cars will have their vehicle excise duty increased by one band.
- The benefit in kind supplement for high polluting diesel cars will be increased by 1% from April 2018.
- For companies, indexation allowance on capital gains will be frozen from January 2018.
- National living wage is set to increase from £7.50/hr to £7.83/hr in April 2018.
- From April 2018 the tax free personal allowance will increase to £11,850 and the rate at which higher rate tax applies will increase to £46,350.
- Tobacco duty continues to increase at inflation plus 2% with an additional 1% on hand rolling tobacco
- Alcohol duty is set to increase for high strength ‘white-ciders’ but will not change for beer, wines, other cider and spirits.
- Petrol and diesel fuel duty will now not increase as was planned in April.
- The VAT registration threshold has been frozen at £85,000 for the next two years.
- Online retailers will be made jointly liable together with their sellers for correct treatment of VAT.
- From April 2018 business rates will increase in line with CPI rather than RPI.
- The period between business rate revaluations will be reduced from every 5 years to every 3 years following the next planned revaluation.
There was no mention of any changes to pensions which have been the subject of much change in recent budgets.
In general the Office of Budget Responsibilities has downgraded its forecast of expected UK economic growth rate for the next 5 years. The rate of borrowing is expected to fall in the next 5 years to £25.6m by 2022-23. Funding and planning policy will be adjusted with the aim of increasing the rate of construction of new housing stock to 300,000 new homes per year by 2020. £400m will be spent improving the electric car infrastructure. £10bn will be made available to the NHS over the course of parliament to go towards improving front line services. £350m extra funding will be given to the NHS this winter.