This year Chancellor Philip Hammond delivered his autumn budget a few weeks earlier than normal. Usually the budget is broadcast in mid-November, but this year he gave the budget on October 29.
In the run up to Brexit, Hammond didn’t issue any huge announcements. Perhaps he wants to leave plenty of room to accommodate for any Brexit inconveniences! However, there were some important takeaways.
1. Rejuvenation of Britain’s high streets
This year has been a testing one for the high streets. Thousands of retailers have closed down, costing tens of thousands of jobs.
Smaller shops, with a rateable value of below £51,000 have had their business rates reduced by a third. In addition, the Chancellor revealed a £675m ‘future high streets fund’ that councils can access to revitalise their high streets.
2. Amendments to income tax thresholds
This was possibly the announcement from the budget that will have the most obvious effect on people’s lives. In his speech the Chancellor himself referred to it as his ‘rabbit in the hat.’ From April 2019 the personal tax-free allowance will rise from £11,850 to £12,500 and the higher rate threshold from £46,350 to £50,000.
These income tax thresholds formed part of the Tories’ manifesto in the last election, a pledge they have fulfilled a year earlier than they initially said.
3. Changes to Entrepreneurs’ Relief
Before the budget, many expected Hammond to put an end to Entrepreneurs’ Relief. It has remained but the qualification period has been prolonged from one year to two. Changes also mean that shareholders must be entitled to at least 5% of the distributable profits and net assets, as well as 5% of the business and voting rights before sale.
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