News > Financial News > Hunt’s budget U-turn
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17 October 2022

Hunt’s budget U-turn

We’ve had so many references to 1970’s economics lately, that you could be forgiven for feeling like you were caught in a 70’s television time-warp. First, the latest instalment of a low budget soap opera, followed by an episode of Play Your Cards Right (Higher, lower, nothing for a pair etc..) where UK economic policy sent markets into turmoil. This morning, not so much a U-turn, but more pulling up the hand break at 60mph and wrenching the steering wheel ninety degrees as we turned over the channel for a rerun of Starsky and Hutch. Tax has never been so exciting, we almost broke a sweat over here at Wilson Partners and yet, with the tax pendulum swinging from cuts to increases, it is no laughing matter as it is becoming ever trickier for businesses to plan and pursue strategies. We hope that, for now at least, the fiscal shenanigans will now settle whilst we try to pretend the last few weeks didn’t happen. Meanwhile, here is our take on the latest instalment:

Over the last few days, we have seen a gradual dismantling of the mini-budget of Friday 23 September 2022, along with the economic policies that Prime Minister Liz Truss based her leadership campaign on.

On Friday 14th October, Ms Truss announced a change of Chancellor, from Kwasi Kwarteng to Jeremy Hunt. This was swiftly followed by a series of U-turns culminating in Mr Hunt delivering an ‘emergency statement’ on Monday 17th October.  This emergency statement effectively replaces and re-writes the mini-budget.

Designed to ensure the UK’s economic stability and provide confidence in the Government’s commitment to fiscal discipline, Hunt’s budget U-turn confirmed:

  • Income tax – the basic rate of income tax will remain at 20% until economic conditions allow for it to be cut. This had been due to drop to 19% from 6 April 2023.

It had already been confirmed that the ‘additional rates’ of income tax for those earning more than £150,000 a year, including the 45% rate on non-savings income, would remain in 2023/24.

  • Income tax on dividends – will remain at the current rates of 8.75% in the basic rate band, 33.75% in the higher rate band and 39.35% in the additional rate band. They had been due to each drop by 1.25 percentage points from 6 April 2023.
  • Corporation tax – the increased corporation tax rates, already legislated to come in from 1 April 2023, will go ahead. These will take some companies from a 19% rate of corporation tax to 25% or 26.5%. It had been proposed that corporation tax would remain at a single 19% rate.
  • IR35 – the off-payrolling rules, as introduced in 2017 and 2021, will remain into 2023/24 and beyond. This keeps the IR35 compliance burden with medium and large sized employers.
  • Energy Price Guarantee – the support for households to cap average annual electricity and gas costs at £2,500 will be reviewed in April 2023. We had been told that households would receive this support until September 2024.
  • VAT – a VAT-free shopping scheme for non-UK visitors to Great Britain will no longer be pursued.
  • Alcohol duties – will not be now frozen from 1 February 2023 and increased duties will apply.

The following mini-budget announcements remain:

  • The 1.25% rise in NICs will still be reversed from 6 November and the government will not go ahead with the planned1.25% levy to fund health and social care next year.
  • The annual investment allowance will remain at £1 million from 1 April 2023, rather than reverting to £200,000.
  • There are to be more than 40 new “investment zones” in England.
  • The increased thresholds for Stamp Duty Land Tax in England and Northern Ireland, as implemented from 23 September, will remain in place.
  • The Energy Bill Relief Scheme for Business will continue to be subject to a governmental review after 31 March 2023. The Chancellor has now said that any support for businesses will be targeted to those most affected, and that the new approach will better incentivise energy efficiency.

On 31 October, Mr Hunt will present an update on the government’s medium term fiscal plan, complete with Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts. Further changes to fiscal policy are expected to be announced at this time.

Running a business is not always easy and we are clearly in turbulent political and economic times and faced with such uncertainty you may ask yourself “What actions can I take as a business owner?”.

It is a good time to look at your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and get a clear understanding of its position in the marketplace, the competition, the systems and the way things are done and the improvements that could be made. Focus on what the business should look like when it is “complete” or running profitably and successfully. Then you can determine priorities – the big issues that need to be focussed on – then you can make a plan.

It is also a good idea to plan for a range of scenarios “good and bad” so that you can be flexible about the direction your business should take.

As ever, we’re here to hold your hand through the process, help you decipher trends in your numbers or just listen and advise. So if you’re being kept awake at night, please remember that we’re here to help you. There will always be opportunities!

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