Budget 2021 analysis with Nick Haines, Hazlewoods
3rd March 2021
Despite a lot of media coverage about potential Capital Gains Tax rate increases and the introduction of wealth taxes, the Chancellor did the sensible thing in his Budget and focused on economic recovery, rather than hitting an already beleaguered nation with a huge swathe of tax rises.
At the forefront of his speech was support to get us through what is, hopefully, the last phase of the coronavirus pandemic.
The furlough scheme was extended to September 30 with a commitment to cover 80 per cent of employee's wages over that period, while the self-employed income support scheme was similarly extended with a fourth and fifth grant.
Grants of up to £6,000 per non-essential retail business are to be provided with those in hospitality and personal care businesses provided with a grant of up to £18,000, to try to kick start their recovery.
Added to that is an extension to the business rates holiday for three months from April 1 with a two third reduction for the following nine months.
More support was provided to the battered hospitality sector with an extension to the reduced rate of VAT to September 30, followed by a rate of 12.5 per cent applying until March 31, 2022.
In a widely expected move, Mr Sunak extended the Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday of the £500,000 nil rate band until June 30, tapering it down to £250,000 until September 30 before it returns to its normal £125,000 level.
The figures for the economy and borrowing were alarming before the further support was announced with £355billion having been borrowed over the last year to provide the £352billion support provided to date - a further £234billion being anticipated in the next fiscal year.
The fact that a one per cent increase in inflation and interest rates will cost the country £25billion extra shows the need to reduce the debt levels as quickly as possible.
So, how is the Chancellor planning to achieve that?
Not through obvious tax rises as rates of Income Tax, National Insurance and VAT are staying at their current levels.
Instead, stealth tax rises will come into play with the freezing of the personal allowances/exemptions for Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Inheritance Tax and pensions allowance, from 2021/22 until 2026.
The one tax rise that was announced was Corporation Tax, but not until 2023.
Then it will rise to 25 per cent, but with a new small companies' threshold of £50,000 where the rate remains at 19 per cent.
Those in the band between £50,000 and £250,000 will be at a tapered rate.
In taking away with one hand, he immediately gave back with another, announcing an extension of loss carry back for all businesses from one year to three years, acknowledging the impact the pandemic has had on many businesses.
But the bigger announcement came in the form of a new Super Deduction to get corporates investing again.
In a move the Chancellor heralded as being 'the biggest tax cut ever', companies (and only companies) will benefit from 130 per cent relief for investment in qualifying plant and machinery and a 50 per cent first year allowance for those that fall in the 'special rate' category.
There were further announcements to kick start the economy with relaxed rules on migrants to bring in the brightest brains and 'help to grow' programmes for management and digital training.
There was also the creation of eight freeports with the aim of these being lower tax areas to aid investment, generate jobs and build businesses.
The details of these remain to be seen but are an exciting, if experimental, policy.
With spring almost upon us, Rishi Sunak is hoping these announcements will herald the green shoots of recovery for the economy - we should all drink to that.
Read more expert analysis of the Budget at hazlewoods.co.uk
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