Philip Hammond has delivered the Autumn Budget. Here we look at some of the main points from the budget as well as the more relevant aspects of the budget for Northern Irish business.
- Minimum wage to increase from £7.83 to £8.21 from April 2019
- Extension to Entrepreneurs’ Relief qualifying period, from 12 to 24 months
- Increase in Annual Investment Allowance from £200k to £1 million for all qualifying investment in plant and machinery made on or after 1 January 2019 until 31 December 2020
- From October 2018 businesses will be able to deduct 2% of the cost of any new non-residential structures and buildings off their profits before they pay tax
- Some employers will see a reduction in their contribution to the costs of apprenticeship training from 10% to 5%
- The VAT threshold will be maintained at the current level of £85,000 for a further two years until April 2022
- The tax-free personal allowance will rise by £650 to £12,500 from April 2019
- The Higher Rate Threshold will increase from £46,350 to £50,000 in April 2019
Property and construction
- Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) relief for first-time buyers extended to shared ownership properties
- From April 2020 lettings relief will be reformed so that it only applies in circumstances where the owner of the property is in shared occupancy with the tenant
- The cap on borrowing for local authorities to build housing is being lifted from today
- Private residence Capital Gains Tax – final exempt period to be shortened from 18 months to 9 months
Automotive and transport
- Fuel duty to remain frozen in 2019 for the ninth consecutive year
- £420 million to fix potholes and roads and renew bridges and tunnels
- Vehicle Excise Duty from 1 April 2019 will increase in line with RPI for cars, vans and motorcycles
- £400 million extra for schools, representing an extra capital payment averaging £10,000 for a primary school and £50,000 for a secondary school
Health and social care
- An increase to the NHS budget by £20.5 billion after inflation by 2023/24
- £2 billion a year in spending on mental health services within the NHS by 2023/24
- Further £650 million in social care funding next year
(Source, UHY Hacker Young)
Northern Irish Businesses
The majority of the announcements made in Budget 2018 were welcomed by business representatives in Northern Ireland. Two announcements directed at Northern Ireland directly included:
- £350m City Deal for Belfast and eastern councils
- £2m relief fund for Belfast city centre (in aftermath of the Primark fire).
Northern Irish businesses look likely to miss out on the move to cut rates bills by one-third for retail properties with a rateable value below £51,000.
The new National Living Wage represents a £690 annual pay rise for a full-time-worker but it could pose challenges for some small employers.
“Given the size of Northern Ireland’s hospitality sector, meeting the goal of a 38p per hour increase will be a struggle for many local employers,” – Janette Jones, PwC NI.
“Overall, the announced investments, coupled with changes to personal allowances and higher rate tax thresholds will help relieve pressures on employees and put more money in their pockets, which will be very much welcomed by our hard-pressed retailers.” – Tina McKenzie, Federation of Small Businesses in NI.