Spring Budget 2024 – the key points for business owners

The Spring Budget promised tax cuts but failed to deliver significant good news. We’ve summarised the main business points and what they could mean for your company.

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Spring Budget 2024 – the key points for business owners
Spring Budget 2024 the key points for business owners

The Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, delivered his second Spring Budget on 6 March 2024. This Budget aimed to appeal to the taxpaying masses, with cuts to National Insurance and a rise to the threshold for VAT registration. But was it too little, too late for the UK economy?

We’ve summarised the main points so you can see how the Budget will impact you as a taxpayer and a business owner.

Summary of the main Budget announcements

The Spring Budget is likely to be the last major fiscal event before the General Election, and the governing party was significantly pressured to deliver tax cuts. Overall, it was intended to deliver economic growth, higher investment, lower taxes, and improved public services.

Growth forecast

Compared to the previous forecast, by year 5, total UK gross domestic product (GDP) is virtually unchanged whilst GDP per capita is marginally down. In future years, real GDP growth is now expected to be:

  • 2024: 0.8% (previously 0.7%)
  • 2025: 1.9% (1.4%)
  • 2026: 2.0% (2.0%)
  • 2027: 1.8% (2.0%)
  • 2028: 1.7% (1.7%)

Inflation (7.3% average for 2023) is predicted to average 2.2% (slightly above target) in 2024, then decline to 1.5% in 2025, 1.6% in 2026, 1.9% in 2027 and 2.0% in 2028.

Main tax measures

Traditionally, most tax measures are covered in the Autumn Statement. But given that we are heading into election season, as expected, there were some significant (and some less significant) tax announcements delivered by the Chancellor.

Let’s look at the main tax takeaways:

  • Fuel duty: Fuel duty will be frozen at current rates for 12 more months until April 2026.

  • National insurance: Employee’s Class 1 National Insurance (income from £1,048 to £4,189 per month) is cut from 10% to 8%, and Class 4 (self-employed, annual profits £12,570 to £50,270) is cut from 8% to 6%. Employer rates remain unchanged, and all bands remain frozen.

  • Alcohol duty: Alcohol duty is frozen at current rates until February 2025.

  • Child benefits: From April 2024, the Higher Income Child Benefit Charge now tapers away on income between £60,000 and £80,000 instead of between £50,000 and £60,000. Previously, if someone receiving child benefit earned > £50K, 1% of it would be clawed back for every £100 earned over £60K. From April 2024, it will be clawed back at 1% for every £200 earned over £60K. From 2026, it is intended to change the base to household income, rather than ‘highest earner’.

  • Value-added tax (VAT): The compulsory registration threshold for VAT will increase from £85,000 to £90,000, and the voluntary deregistration threshold from £83,000 to £88,000.

  • Creative arts: Various measures were announced to benefit the creative arts, primarily visual effects, film studios, museums, theatres and orchestras.

  • Furnished holiday lets: The specific (and more favourable) treatment for furnished holiday lets will disappear, and FHL will be treated the same as residential property letting.

  • Capital gains tax: The higher-rate capital gains tax (CGT) charge of 28% on gains on residential property will be reduced to 24%.

  • Multiple dwellings relief: Multiple dwellings relief will be abolished from June 2024. Previously, when someone purchased, for example, a block of five flats for £2 million, stamp duty was levied as if there were five purchases of £400K each. It will now be levied as a single £2 million purchase.

  • Non-dom tax: From April 2025, a new relief will replace the current non-dom tax system. This will give new arrivals full relief from UK tax on foreign income and gains for four years, after which they will be fully liable for UK tax on all income, regardless of source.

  • Vaping products and tobacco: From October 2026, a new tax will be levied on vaping products, together with a one-off increase in tobacco duty, to discourage switching from vaping to tobacco.

Other measures

There were some other targeted duty and tax measures of note to consider:

  • The windfall tax on energy firms was extended for another year.

  • Air passenger duty on non-economy-class flights was increased.

  • Landfill tax was increased.

  • To encourage investment in UK companies, a new ISA will be established with an annual savings limit of £5,000 on top of current allowances.

  • More funding will be given to HMRC to help them tackle tax evasion and close the tax gap.

  • £3.4 billion is being allocated to the NHS to invest in capital projects to enhance productivity. These projects cover areas such as better use of AI, updated existing IT systems, and reducing the administrative burden on NHS staff.

  • The Household Support Fund was extended for six months, allowing councils to provide additional support for households suffering from the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

  • The repayment period for government emergency loans to universal credit recipients has been extended from 12 to 24 months.

Talk to us about your concerns following the Spring Budget

This was a relatively sedate budget compared to the budgets and autumn statements in recent years. However, the question remains whether the Chancellor has done enough to push UK economic growth while also appealing to the taxpaying public.

If you have any worries or concerns following the Spring Budget, please get in touch with us to arrange a chat. We’ll be happy to explain the main business measures.

Get in touch to talk about post-Budget planning.

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