There’s always been a theatrical air to this year’s Autumn Budget. The drama started back in March, when the Chancellor revealed that he would be changing the way such announcements would be made during the Spring and Autumn of each year. Since then, there’s been a general Election, Brexit talk and all eyes are on the press for speculation for this year’s first “radical” Budget.
Chancellor Philip Hammond appears to be facing a spending dilemma, according to some stories, as he aims to both increase spend for public services whilst tackling the ongoing deficit. It seems that one involves spending more money, whilst the other will include cutting costs and this has encouraged opinion that the likely outcome will be a cut in forecasts for growth.
Where does that leave the deficit overall? Early predictions show that the target for balancing the books has been moved from 2020 to 2025 – a strategy which has been formed over a more measured approach over a longer period of time. The opposition has criticised this for being anything other than a “balanced approach” as there are a number of areas in the public sector that need more money, namely, schools, the NHS and prison services – and there is no commitment to cater for this.
Other predictions for the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget include calls to redress the balance on expensive student loans, to look at Stamp Duty and backing proposals to develop the Apprenticeship Levy.
Student loans were thrown into the spotlight after Corbyn drafted into his Labour manifesto at the time of the General Election that he plans to abolish them altogether. The Conservative government is likely to respond to this by drafting in measures to counterbalance the effects of students loans after University, by raising the repayment threshold to £25,000, but critics have said that more needs to be done to encourage university attendance and the cost of initial debt needs to be reduced.
Stamp Duty has also been heavily featured in the headlines since George Osbourne announced an increased percentage for second home owners. The new SDLT regime has been criticised as a “significant burden” which “stunts mobility” and in turn could impact the affordability of homes in the UK. However, it has also been praised as a way of levelling the playing field for first time buyers, who may have previously been priced out by investors.
The Budget will be live on Wednesday 22nd November and we will be listening in to stay up to speed with the latest changes and how they may affect our clients.
If you would like more information about how the Budget could affect you, or you require legal advice, contact DMH Stallard to see how we can help.