2.11.2021 | Tax

The Autumn budget – a tax expert’s view

Welcome measures for the freight and logistics sectors.

The Chancellor’s Autumn budget has received a mixed reception, with many of the headline-grabbing announcements – such as the rise in National Living Wage – leaked to the media days before.

Some in this part of the country have criticised the budget, saying the east of England was left out of the Chancellor’s big plans.

However, there was some news for a number of sectors hit hard in the pandemic – including freight, shipping and haulage.

Here, Andrew Diver, Beatons Group’s Head of Taxation, has a look at the good and not so good in this year’s autumn’s budget.

No big tax changes
Although the Chancellor announced a lot of spending, there were no new big tax changes.

The Chancellor’s plan appears to be to rebuild the UK’s economy through growth.

Mr Sunak announced in March an increase in Corporation Tax rates from April 2023, and it is these changes that are largely funding his spending plans. It will be time company owners might wish to consider some restructuring to mitigate the effects of the increase in rate from 19% to 25%.

As the forecast yield of the tax increase was based on the previous 4.1% growth, the new 6.5% forecast would provide much higher tax revenue.

Freight, shipping and haulage
There were some positives in this autumn budget for the freight and logistics sectors.

Among these are grants for improved lorry parks, the Heavy Goods Vehicle Levy being delayed until 2023 and fuel duty being frozen for the 12th successive year.

These have been welcomed by a number of trade bodies, including the British International Freight Association (BIFA) and the Road Haulage Association (RHA).

Rod McKenzie, the RHA’s Managing Director for Policy and Public Affairs, said of the budget: “These are very welcome measures for the UK’s hard-pressed haulage industry already battling chronic driver shortages and other substantial challenges to maintaining the efficiency of the nation’s supply chain.”

However, some were disappointed the Chancellor did not specifically mention the east of England in his announcements.

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce described the budget as ‘underwhelming’ for businesses in the region, saying while the Chancellor made many geographic references as to where spending might benefit certain areas, there was little mention of the east of England.

As an area vital to the UK trade, I can see why some see it as a snub, although there was much in the budget that will benefit firms in the east.

The big picture
The Chancellor’s budget was a mixed bag, with more Government spending than has been seen in decades because of the effect of the pandemic.

While there was some encouraging news for the freight, shipping and logistics sectors, which should go some way in battling driver shortages and supply issues, some say more still could be done.

I am encouraged however by Mr Sunak’s long-term goal of cutting taxes – but we shall have to wait to see if his plans for growth come into fruition to provide the necessary funds.

For more information about Beatons group, visit beatons.co.uk