A £27 billion tax cut for business and a trio of freezes to help families with the cost-of-living headlined the Chancellor’s Spring Budget today, Wednesday 15 March.
Aimed at achieving long-term, sustainable economic growth that delivers prosperity with a purpose for the people of the United Kingdom, the Spring Budget breaks down barriers to work, unshackles business investment and tackles labour shortages head on.
Many of today’s decisions on tax and spending apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. As a result of decisions that do not apply UK-wide, the Scottish Government will receive around an additional £320 million over 2023-24 and 2024-25.
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt said:
“Our plan is working – inflation falling, debt down and a growing economy.
“Britain is on a lasting path to growth with a revolution in childcare support, the biggest ever employment package and the best investment incentives in Europe.”
Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said:
“Today the Chancellor has set out a Budget which continues cost of living support and will deliver sustainable, long-term growth, helping us halve inflation and reduce our national debt.
“Maintaining the Energy Price Guarantee until June will save the average family £160 a year and gives certainty over their bills until summer. We’ve also made changes to Universal Credit to help people get back to work.
“Other UK Government direct investment in Scotland includes £8.6 million for Edinburgh’s world-class festivals, more than £1 million for five new vital community ownership projects, and investment in Scotland’s innovative high tech sector. The Chancellor has also confirmed there will be Investment Zones in all parts of the UK, building on Scotland’s two new Freeports.”
The Chancellor announced the government will pay the childcare costs of parents on Universal Credit moving into work or increasing their hours upfront, rather than in arrears – removing a major barrier to work for those who are on benefits. The maximum they can claim will also be boosted to £951 for one child and £1,630 for two children – an increase of around 50%.
The Chancellor went on to set out plans to continue to support households with cost-of-living pressures including keeping the Energy Price Guarantee at £2,500 for the next three months and ending the premium that over 4 million households pay on their prepayment meter, bringing their charges into line with comparable customers who pay by direct debit. Taken together with all the government’s efforts to help households with higher costs, these measures bring the total support to an average of £3,300 per UK household over 2022-23 and 2023-24.
To help household budgets further, the planned 11 pence rise in fuel duty will be cancelled and the 5p cut will be maintained for another twelve months, saving a typical driver another £100 on top of the £100 saved so far since last year’s cut.
The generosity of Draught Relief has also been significantly extended from 5% to 9.2%, so that the duty on an average draught pint of beer served in a pub both does not increase from August and will be up to 11 pence lower than the duty in supermarkets. The commitment to duty on a pub pint being lower than the supermarket has been termed the “Brexit Pubs Guarantee” by the Chancellor, and will support over 2,500 pubs and bars in Scotland.
The Chancellor also set out a comprehensive plan to remove the barriers to work facing those on benefits, those with health conditions and older workers. An increase in the pensions Annual Allowance from £40,000 to £60,000 and the abolition of the Lifetime Allowance will remove the disincentives to working for longer.
In line with the government’s vision for the UK to be the best place in Europe for companies to locate, invest and grow, a new first-in-Europe ‘full expensing’ policy will be introduced to boost business investment in an effective cut to corporation tax of £9 billion per year. This makes the UK the joint first most competitive capital allowances regime in the OECD and the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast that this will increase business investment by 3% for every year it is in place. Mr Hunt signalled an intention to make this scheme – which covers equipment for factories, computers and other machinery – permanent when responsible to do so.
Accompanying forecasts by the OBR confirm that with the package of measures Mr Hunt set out today, the economy is on track to grow with inflation halved this year and debt falling – meeting all of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s economic priorities. This comes alongside the confirmation that there are no new tax rises within the Spring Budget.
Significant reforms to childcare will remove barriers to work for parents receiving Universal Credit not working due to caring responsibilities, reducing discrimination against women and benefitting the wider economy in the process.
The Chancellor set out a comprehensive plan to remove the barriers to work facing those on benefits, those with health conditions and older workers.
The Chancellor put forward a plan to boost innovation, drive business investment and hold down energy costs.
To level up growth across the UK and spread opportunity everywhere, local communities will be empowered to command their economic destiny.
Notes to Editors:
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