The newly appointed Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced a spirited Budget with a repeated emphasis on ‘getting things done’, echoing the recent election campaign.
His initial focus was on the short-term measures needed to deal with the challenges the UK faces as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. These amounted to a £12bn fiscal stimulus, with more available if required. There was help for both businesses and individuals.
Some of the other highlights were:
- The changes to the taper of the pension annual allowances will mean that many fewer higher paid people – especially important for the NHS – will be hit by a reduced annual allowance.
- The reduction of entrepreneurs’ relief to £1 million of gain was well trailed, and for a time abolition seemed a possibility. But the more than doubling of the annual limit for Junior ISAs to £9,000 was a pleasant surprise.
- Smaller businesses will welcome the increase in the NIC employment allowance to £4,000.
- Publishers should be very pleased by the decision to make electronic publications zero-rated for VAT.
- From April 2021, only electric and other zero-emission cars will qualify for first year allowances and cars with emissions over 50 g/km will qualify for writing down allowances of just 6% a year.