14 Nov Autumn Budget 2018 – Highlights
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With Brexit around the corner, we find ourselves living in a time of relative uncertainty; across the UK the property market is hesitant and in some places stalling amid ‘no deal’ speculation and the impending final Brexit at the end of March 2019.
Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer and local MP for our local constituency (Runnymede and Weybridge) delivered his autumn budget speech in Parliament at the end of October. It was focused on preparations for Brexit and ensuring a robust plan for the British economy ahead of what will be, an inevitably tumultuous period.
We would like to take this opportunity to pull out some of the key features talked about in the autumn budget and have summarised the key points from the Chancellor’s speech.
The cap which has been in force on local authority borrowing will be lifted; this opens the door for more homes to be built in the areas in which they are most needed. In our current local market we have found that homes are in high demand and so this initiative is music to our ears. This is part of the bigger government initiative to build 250,000 houses a year across the UK.
There is also more good news for first time buyers, who will now be eligible for first-time buyers’ Stamp Duty relief on shared equity purchases up to £500k.
Environment and Transport
Duty on fuel will remain frozen for the ninth year in a row – saving the average driver up to £1,000 in the year. There will be a £30 billion investment in the UK’s road systems to fix potholes and repair motorways and a further 30% growth in infrastructure spending.
A new tax will be levied on any plastic packaging containing less than 30% recyclable material, the takeaway coffee cup tax remains on the table and may be brought in to effect if the coffee industry as a whole doesn’t make progress.
There will also be £10m made available to deal with abandoned waste sites. This is a subject area of specific interest at the moment as Surrey County Council consults on the possible closure of the Community Recycling Centre in Lyne. Make sure you have your say by taking the survey – it’s definitely worth two minutes of your time.
Education and Health
The chancellor reiterated the government’s plans for funding the NHS over the next five years aiming for an extra £20.5 billion being put into services and a further £2 billion allocated to mental health spending. Local authorities will also receive an extra £700m in order to care for the elderly and those with disabilities. A one-off £400 million for schools will be available to help with resources and facilities needing attention; primary schools will be entitled to an extra £10,000 while secondary schools will have access to £50,000.
The personal allowance will increase from £11,850 to £12,500 which will come in to effect in April 2019. For those on the higher rate tax bracket, the threshold will rise from £46,450 to £50,000. This will benefit nearly a million people in the UK.
A 2% tax on profits will be brought in to effect for businesses providing digital services. Companies such as Facebook and Google will be subject to this tax which could raise around £400m. This consultation is likely to be a temporary measure pending global reform.
All of this and there will also be a new 50p coin minted to mark Brexit.
In summary the autumn budget was an exercise in reassurance and giving people peace of mind that ‘it’ll all be ok’. The plans have been outlined in order to fully prepare the UK for Brexit and, with good news for the UKs workers – paying less tax and an increase in the minimum wage, the Chancellor was keen to emphasize that the era of austerity was coming to an end.
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