The Budget

Below are the key points from today’s Budget statement which I hope you find useful.

Philip Hammond said: “the era of austerity is finally coming to an end”

Brexit funding boost

The chancellor says the country is well funded for Brexit noting he's already allocated £2.2bn to departments for Brexit preparations, and points out that in the Autumn Budget last year he set aside a further £1.5bn to be allocated for 2019-20. He is now increasing that sum to £2bn.

Growth forecasts revised up

Growth going forward will be "resilient" says Philip Hammond, improving next year from the 1.3% forecast in the Spring Statement to 1.6%. In 2020, he expects 1.4%, 1.5% in 2021 and 2022 and 1.6% in 2023.

'Real wage growth'

The chancellor says that with "regular pay growth at 3.1%, its strongest in almost a decade and inflation forecast to average 2% next year, the OBR [Office for Budget Responsibility] is forecasting sustained real wage growth in each of the next five years".

Borrowing to fall 

Government expected borrowing this year will be £11.6bn lower than forecast at the Spring Statement. It is then set to fall from £31.8bn in 2019/20 to £26.7bn in 2020-21, £23.8bn in 2021/22, £20.8bn in 2022/23 and £19.8bn in 2023-24 - its lowest level in more than 20 years.

He says national debt peaked in 2016/17 at 85.2% of GDP and then falls in every year of the forecast from 83.7% this year; to 74.1% in 23-24.

"It means that we meet our target to get debt falling three years early," Mr Hammond says.

Five-year spending plan

Philip Hammond pledges a full spending review next year, setting out its priorities for public spending.

He says he will be delivering it when annual growth is 1.2%, but notes that EU negotiations should enable them to have more cash.

"When our EU negotiations deliver a deal, as I am confident they will … I expect that the 'deal dividend' will allow us to provide further funding for the Spending Review."

NHS commitment

Philip Hammond referred to the already announced £20.5bn increase for the NHS over the next five years.

"There are many pressing demands on additional NHS funding but few more pressing than the needs of those who suffer from mental illness," he tells the Commons.

The Chancellor announces that the NHS 10 Year plan will include "a new mental health crisis service", with "comprehensive mental health support available in every major A&E", as well as "children and young peoples’ crisis teams in every part of the country".

He also promises "more mental health ambulances" and more “safe havens in the community" and a 24-hour mental health crisis hotline.

Social care boost

Philip Hammond announces that there will be another £650m of grant funding for English councils for 2019-20 and an additional £45m for the disabled facilities grant in England in 2018-19.

He also pledges a further £84m over the next five years to expand children's social care programmes to 20 further councils.

Armed Forces get £1bn

Philip Hammond pledges another £1bn for the MoD this year and next "to boost our cyber capabilities and our anti-submarine warfare capacity".

The money will also be used to maintain the pace of the Dreadnought programme to ensure Continuous At Sea Deterrence.

More cash for schools

Philip Hammond pledges £400m to schools as an "in-year bonus". The money averages £10,000 per primary school and £50,000 per secondary school.

More cash for highway repairs

He also confirms that £420m will be made available "to tackle potholes, bridge repairs, and other minor works in this financial year".

Government to axe PFI deals

Philip Hammond says the government plans to abolish the use of the private finance initiative (PFI) for future project. The government will honour existing contracts.

E-Passport Gates

The government plans to make e-passport gates at Heathrow and other airports available to visitors from the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Japan as well as EEA citizens.

Tech giants (UK digital services) tax

A "UK Digital Services Tax" will be introduced. "This will be a narrowly-targeted tax on the UK-generated revenues of specific digital platform business models. It will be carefully designed to ensure it is established tech giants – rather than our tech start-ups - that shoulder the burden of this new tax. It is important that I emphasise that this is not an online-sales tax on goods ordered over the internet."

The tax will only be paid by companies which generate "at least £500m a year in global revenues". The Chancellor estimates the tax, to come into force in April 2020, will generate £400m per year.

Private sector workers to get same employment taxes

Hammond announced that the off payroll working rules - known as IR35 - will apply to the private sector, after being rolled out in the public sector last year.  The changes will be delayed until April 2020 - and only to large and medium-sized businesses.

Boost for entrepreneurs (entrepreneurs tax) 

No change to level of entrepreneurs’ tax relief available, but ownership period doubled to two years to better target relief that is worth up to £1m to business owners.

£675m to help high streets transform

£675m will be committed to create a Future High Streets Fund to support councils drawing up formal plans for the transformation of their high streets.

In addition for two years there will be a one third reduction in business rates for retail premises rated at £51,000 or below 

There will also be business rate relief for public toilets.

More help for first time buyers

Philip Hammond said he will extend the cancellation of stamp duty for first time buyers on properties up to £300,00 to first-time buyers of shared ownership properties valued at up to £500,000.

The relief will be retrospective from the last budget.

The chancellor also announces £500m more for the Housing Infrastructure Fund in a bid to build 650,000 homes, as well as a consultation on the simplification of the process for conversion of commercial property into new homes.

New money for towns and cities

To support the "Northern Powerhouse" project, Hammond announces an increase in the Transforming Cities Fund of £2.4bn.  An extra £90m is also promised to trial "new models of smart transport", including ‘on demand buses’ - which he says mean taxis.

He also announced £2m in help for Belfast city centre following a fire at the Bank Building.


As Brexit nears, the government will invest £12m over the next three years in cutting edge fisheries technology and safety measures.

Abandoned waste

Hammond pledges £10m to deal with abandoned waste sites.

Plastic packaging

The chancellor unveils a new tax on "the manufacture and import of plastic packaging which contains less than 30% recycled plastic". He says the government will "consult" on the detail and implementation timetable.

Hammond also says he has "looked carefully" at the case for introducing a tax on the production of disposable plastic cups - for all types of drinks.  He says: "I have concluded that a tax in isolation would not, at this point, deliver a decisive shift from disposable to reusable cups across all beverage types.

Fuel duty frozen, cigarette prices up, but beer and cider stays the same

Hammond announces "a series of measures to help families across Britain with the cost of living". This includes confirmation of a freeze on fuel duty.

But, the price of tobacco will rise at the rate of inflation plus 2%. Although, duties of beer and cider will stay the same.

£1bn over five years injected into Universal Credit

Hammond says the switch to Universal Credit, the government's flagship welfare programme, was a "long overdue and necessary reform".

He recognises the "genuine concern" of many MPs about its implementation and announces a "package of measures" worth £1bn over the next five years.  He says the work and pensions secretary will announce further details later this year.

Increase in National Living Wage

Hammond revealed a rise in the National Living Wage by 4.9% in April 2019 from £7.83 to £8.21.

Hammond brings forward rise in personal tax allowance

The Chancellor brings forward a Tory manifesto commitment to raise the personal tax allowance to £12,500 and higher rate tax threshold to £50,000 by a year. He said: "Our careful management of the economy allows me to go further: So I will raise both the Personal Allowance and the Higher Rate Threshold to these levels from April 2019 delivering our manifesto commitments one year early."