5.4.2022 | Tax

Beatons provide a recap of the Chancellor’s Spring Statement

A few surprises, and as expected, an emphasis on seeming to ease the cost of living. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered his Spring Statement in March with a focus on attempting to ease the cost of living and cutting taxes in a bid to keep the UK economy on a firm footing.

Here, Andrew Diver, head of taxation at Beatons Group, summarises the main points from The Chancellor’s statement and offers his thoughts on the measures in real terms.

The Spring Statement brought few surprises, and as expected, an emphasis on seeming to ease the cost of living.

Fuel duty
The fuel duty cut of 5p per litre was very welcome. Prices are still spiralling outside of the wholesale price of fuel, which decreased a few weeks ago, and there isn’t anything that will force petrol companies to pass this reduction in duty onto customers. Petrol companies pay the duty when acquiring fuel so will have paid the duty on the fuel in their pumps already at the higher rate so they may still wait until they need to restock their supplies and they have paid the lower rate of duty before passing it onto customers. The cost of fuel will continue to be a challenge for many businesses, with the consensus appearing to be that this is somewhat of a ‘drop in the ocean’ measure, particularly for industries which rely heavily on the use of fuel.

Inflation
The Chancellor confirmed that inflation had hit 6.2% last month and it is predicted to be as high as 7.4% over the course of the rest of the year. This is a prediction by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) and could yet turn out to be higher.

National Insurance
The National Insurance threshold is set to increase from £9,500 to £12,570. This means the typical employee will save £330 a year and this will benefit even those employees on high incomes.

This will also apply to the self-employed who are subject to Class 4 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) who will see that threshold rise also.

This will not come into effect until July to allow employers to update their software, therefore people won’t notice the boost it offers straightaway.

One point that is useful to note is that while the NICs limit has increased for employees, the employer rate remains the same. This means they will see increased costs from the Health & Social care levy from April 2022. It appears that the employment allowance, highlighted below, may have been an attempt to try to counter that.

Help for businesses with increase in employment allowance
There was a little extra help for employers with the announcement of an increase in employment allowance to £5,000. There were also further extensions to what is classed as Research & Development and annual investment allowance was again set at £1million, with the transitional relief for business rates being extended for 2022/23.

Basic rate of tax cut
The Chancellor also revealed plans for a cut in the basic rate of tax from 20% to 19% across the board and said this amounts to a £5billion tax cut for more than 30 million people including workers, pensioners and savers. However, while this is a welcome announcement, it isn’t due to come in until April 2024 and as we all already know, a year is a long time in politics so two years is a very long time indeed!

In summary
The overall sentiment is that there are a lot of nice increases in thresholds, though some are far from immediate. Since taking on the role of Chancellor, Rishi Sunak has been increasing the HMRC coffers through fiscal drag by generally freezing rates and allowing inflation to lead to more tax revenues being collected, so we can take a small positive from the fact that he has given something back. However, many will no doubt feel that the Chancellor has not gone far enough in his measures to help ease the cost of living.

Please get in touch with Beatons if you need advice on what any of the new measures might mean for you or your business.  Email info@beatons.co.uk or call 01473 659777.

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