U-turns and changes – what happened to the mini-Budget announcements?
The majority of measures in former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-Budget have been scrapped after new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt tried to settle markets and politicians across the House of Commons with an Emergency Statement on October 17.
Gone is the controversial plan to remove the 45% top rate of tax, and the basic rate of tax will remain at 20% from April next year. Corporation Tax will also increase to 25% from the current 19% from April next year, an announcement made by now former Prime Minister Liz Truss days before she resigned the top job, to be replaced by Rishi Sunak. In addition, the IR35 and dividend tax cut reforms will not go ahead.
What about the measures to help people with their energy bills?
The planned help with the Energy Price Guarantee – one of the key policies in Liz Truss’s short tenure – will remain in place until April 2023, but after this there will be a Treasury-led review into how best to help businesses and consumers with their bills going forwards.
Energy analysts Cornwall Insight have warned that following the removal of this support, bills could reach as high as £4,347 a year. How the Government plans to support bill payers after this time remains to be seen.
Were any of the benefits kept in place?
Thankfully, some of the mini-Budget announcements that were beneficial were kept in place by Mr Hunt. For example, the Stamp Duty Land Tax changes that came into effect on September 23 mean homebuyers will not pay any Stamp Duty on property purchases up to £250,000, and first-time buyers would not have to pay Stamp Duty on the first £425,000 of the property purchase.
Is the National Insurance rise still being scrapped on November 6?
The mini-Budget announcement to scrap the 1.25% rise in National Insurance from November 6 was another measure that escaped the chop by Mr Hunt, and the Health and Social Care Levy which was due to come into effect from April next year will not be implemented as Mr Hunt continued with the plan outlined by his predecessor.
Warning of pain ahead
However, both Mr Hunt and the new PM Rishi Sunak have been at pains to outline that there are likely to be difficult times ahead. Mr Hunt made this clear in his speech on October 17, when he also referenced Ms Truss’ “mistakes”.
The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement will now take place on November 17, delaying a planned medium-term fiscal statement on October 31 to offer a more comprehensive Autumn Budget. This will also include the Office for Budget Responsibilities’ forecast, a key ingredient that was missing in Mr Kwarteng’s mini-Budget which was part of the reason markets reacted so badly to the apparently unfunded announcements. We will keep you updated at the end of November with any further changes.
There is no doubt things are currently changing at pace, so if you want any assistance to keep up with what is going on to protect your own or your business’s finances, please contact us and we will give you all the help, support and information you need.