Budget

The era of austerity is “finally coming to an end”, said Philip Hammond as he began to deliver his last Budget before Brexit. 

In his speech this afternoon, the chancellor also explained this would be a budget for “hard-working families … who live their lives far from this place … and care little for the twists and turns of Westminster politics”.

We’ve summarised some of the key takeaways for UK technology entrepreneurs.

Business and digital

  • New digital services tax on UK revenues of tech giants (this will come into effect from April 2020)
  • Profitable companies with global sales of more than £500m will be eligible
  • The chancellor also said that private finance initiative (PFI) contracts will be abolished, but announced a new centre of excellence t manage existing deals
  • Hammond increased investment allowance from £200,000 to £1m for two years
  • Contribution of small companies to apprenticeship levy to be decreased from 10% to 5%
  • Business rates bill for companies with a rateable value of £51,000 or less to be cut by third over two years
  • £900m in business rates relief for small businesses
  • £650m to help High Streets

Tax and wages

  • The chancellor raised the rate at which people will start paying income tax from £11,800 to £12,500. This will come into effect in April.
  • The higher rate income tax threshold will also rise from £46,350 to £50,000

Welfare and pensions

  • Work allowances for universal credit to be increased by £1.7bn
  • An extra £1bn in a bid to help welfare claimants transfer to new consolidated benefit

Defence and security

  • An additional £1bn for armed forces, for cyber-capabilities and the UK’s new nuclear submarine programme
  • An extra £160m for counter-terrorism forces

Education and health (England only)

  • He confirmed an extra £20.5bn for the NHS over the next five years
  • A minimum extra £2bn a year for mental health services
  • New mental health crisis centre, providing support in every A&E unit in the country
  • An additional £700m for councils, for care for the elderly and those with disabilities
  • £10m for air ambulances

Transport, infrastructure and culture

  • A £30bn package for England’s roads, including repairs to motorways and potholes (this was announced on 27 October)
  • Opening the use of e-passport gates at airports – currently available to people from Europe – to those from the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Japan

Environment and energy

  • A new tax on non-recycled plastic packaging
  • No tax on takeaway coffee cups. This, however, will be reviewed again if the industry fails to make sufficient progress