Recovery, recovery, recovery
The budget delivered on 4th March outlined the ‘path to recovery’.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak pledged to do ‘whatever it takes’ to recover from the economic impact of the pandemic, prioritising growth and incentivising investment with £65 billion allocated to revival measures.
Inevitably, tax rises will follow to help balance the country’s books - to include the 6% rise in the corporation tax rate from 1 April 2023. But Rishi stuck to his promise to avoid raising income tax, VAT or National Insurance. Plus, the nil-rate band of inheritance tax, the capital gains tax annual exempt amount, and the pension lifetime allowance will also be frozen until 2026, on his watch.
It was an expected set of policies from our cool, collected, and measured Chancellor who spent just over 50 minutes delivering the Budget statement from an unusually quiet and reserved House of Commons (covid restriction tempering the braying collective – this Budget really was unusual, in every sense…).
Overall, it was a strong message of confidence for both business and individuals alike, with a three-part plan to protect jobs and livelihoods to kick start the economy. Thank goodness, we sighed.
In short, the busines rates holiday continues, as does the reduced VAT rate of 5% for the beleaguered hospitality and tourism sector. Quite right.
Furloughed employees will continue to receive 80% of their wages until the end of September (and with that, so too HMRC’s watchdogs) - with a new restart grant worth £5 billion for the hospitality and leisure arenas. A new recovery loan scheme was also announced.
And for those investing in brand new plant and machinery assets, there are tax incentives and tax breaks to unlock and bring forward significant levels of investment. Construction as ever the litmus test.
Skills was also on the Chancellor’s agenda, with opportunities for people to enter the labour market and learn new skills, with a focus on boosting management and digital, take note.
Indeed, for each new apprentice hired between 1 April 2021 and 30 September 2021, employers will receive an increased government payment of £3,000 regardless of their age. From July 2021, government support will be provided in the form of a new £7-million fund to employers to enable apprentices to benefit from high-quality and diverse training by working on multiple projects with several employers. And employers may have the opportunity to put forward any proposals in relation to this support. A major programme. It’s time to sharpen the CV, generation Y.
The housing market received a further boost too, with the extension of the stamp duty land tax rate cut and the introduction of a mortgage guarantee scheme. This will run from April 2021 to December 2022 to provide guarantees to lenders offering mortgages to people with deposits of 5% on homes with a value of up to £600,000. Estate agents will be busy.
For those of us based in the regions we’re told there are intentions to ‘level up’, with activity moving out of London in a bid to bridge that north south divide.
To me this felt like a pro-regions and pro-business budget. A businesswoman based in the north, I was cheered. But above all I was hearted by the rhetoric that it was the start of an era of optimism. Long may that continue.
Oh, and there was a freeze on duties for spirits, wine, and cider…
…cheers to that too.
The NC Group offers an expansive and experience team of communication specialists. If you want to discuss your current and ongoing marketing needs get in touch with one of our key directors. Now more than ever is the time to plan your ongoing reputation, reputation, reputation… to quote the Bard… as we all start to head out of the woods.