Spring Statement 2018: Scene-setter Spring Statement ‘light on detail’

Tony Medcalf, tax partner at MHA Moore and Smalley, said: “We were told not to expect any fireworks in this statement and the chancellor was true to his word.

“He made reference to quite a few issues that would be of interest to the business community, such as more money to help small firms engage apprentices and taking action to tackle late payments, but didn’t give further details.

“He also said he wanted to unleash inventors and discoverers, but again there was no mention of how this would be done. This was a scene-setter speech that touched on the government’s aspirations, rather than setting out specific policies.

“On the whole, I think business owners will be relieved that there are no new major initiatives to have to try and get their head around.”

An economy taking a turn for the better

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts the economy will continue to grow, the deficit will fall and that debt will decline. 

Philip Hammond’s statement today was upbeat in message and tone; in fact he chose to compare himself to Tigger, in his belief that Britain is bouncing back under the guidance of the current Government.

The Chancellor informed parliament that more jobs will be created, inflation will drop and wages will rise in real terms.

  • The National Living Wage will rise to £7.83 and National Minimum Wage will rise for under 25s and apprentices
  • Business rates revaluation will be brought forward to 2021 and take place every 3 years
  • The first wave of funding for the £190m Challenge Fund to help roll out full-fibre broadband to local areas has now been allocated
  • The government is working with 44 areas on their bids into the £4.1bn Housing Infrastructure Fund
  • The Housing Growth Partnership, which provides financial support for small house builders, will be more than doubled to £220m

Spending review

A spending review in 2019 will look at, in the Chancellor’s words ‘what the country can afford and decide on spending priorities’ for the future.

This will include, amongst other matters, a review of tax on red diesel, tackling plastic pollution and a new process for VAT collection.   The Chancellor gave no further information regarding how VAT could be dealt with in future, however this could have major implications and we await further details.

Philip Hammond believes, in his words, that there is ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ and that the country is well on its way to rebuilding the public finances.  He says money will be spent on schools, hospitals, social care, education and infrastructure and not wasted on debt interest.

If you would like to discuss this in more detail, or you would like to speak with a member of our team, please email Tony Medcalf or call 01772 821021