The Chancellor Phillip Hammond delivered his final Budget before the UK’s exit from the EU at the end of October, with the usual range of areas covered that affect all our customers, whether they are single, married, with or without children, with or without property, or retired. We saw the usual changes to tobacco, fuel and alcohol duties, with air passenger duty also changed to rise in line with inflation, while Mr Hammond proclaimed that his budget would pave the way for a “brighter future” for Britain, with an increase in funding for the NHS, Defence and Education.
Here we look at some of the key areas that affect our everyday clients and with some specialist insight from our legal experts we assess what it might mean for you.
The big announcement was relating to stamp duty, but elsewhere the Chancellor touched on some other property issues in his budget speech. An allocation of £500million for the housing infrastructure fund is hoped to result in 650,000 new houses being built.
A measure to help neighbourhoods allocate land for local, affordable housing was also announced.
First time buyers in shared ownership homes will now pay no stamp duty on the first £300,000 of any home that costs up to £500,000. This relief was open to first time buyers previously, from the November 2017 budget, but omitted those purchasing shared ownership properties. This has now been amended and is retrospective back to the last budget.
The popular help-to-buy loan scheme for new-build properties will be extended for another two years. With this a Government loan for up to 20% of the property price is available, which is interest free for the first five years and then repaid on the sale of the property from the equity. Designed to help first time buyers get on the property ladder, the scheme is now being extended to 2023.
Also in property, from April 2020 the Government will limit lettings relief to properties where the owner is in shared occupancy with the tenant, and reduce the final period exemption from 18 months to nine months.
The personal allowance for income tax will rise to £12,500 and the higher rate threshold to £50,000 from April 2019.
Employment rights also came under the spotlight with an adjustment to the national living wage. This will increase for over 25s from £7.83 per hour to £8.21 per hour, a pay rise that is effectively above inflation, and amounts to an increase of around £690 annually for a full-time worker.
Universal credit work allowances are also to increase by £1,000 a year for working families and those with disabilities. If you are employed, your universal credit reduces as you earn more, for every £1 you earn, your payment reduces by 63p. But if you or your partner are responsible for a child, or are living with a disability you are eligible for a work allowance.
Also in employment, the Chancellor will apply IR35 employment changes to private sector to large and medium-sized businesses. This follows a recent crackdown in the public sector on employees who are paid via personal services companies to avoid paying tax.
A possible reduction in personal injuries and road traffic accidents could be the result of local authorities being given £420million for road repairs. With immediate availability, local highways authorities will be able to fix potholes and carry out other repairs, after extreme temperatures from a harsh winter and a scorching summer badly affected road conditions.
If you require any additional information about any legal implications of the recent budget, and how this may affect you, please call 0113 284 5000.