Autumn Statement Predictions
With Paul Robbins
Associate Director Tax
Long gone are the days when you could assume that an Autumn Statement will consist solely of tracking the performance of the economy against budget and be a tax-free event.
There isn’t last year’s dire need to reverse quickly out of the Truss government tax announcements, but there is the prospect of a general election next year (maybe as early as the Spring) to factor in. The outcome of the recent Scottish by-election may well panic the government into doing something – certainly, the Prime Minister seems determined to “think the unthinkable”. All or which means that our team of experts will definitely not be stood down on 22 November.
So what might come up? Clearly influential voices in the Conservative party want pre-election tax cuts – particularly to corporation tax - but my hunch is that, assuming the election is later in 2024, the Chancellor will wait until he knows how the economy is performing in the run up to the Spring Budget. In fringe debates at their recent party conference ministers called for a reform of council tax valuations and re-evaluation of business rates whilst other Conservative MPs put the case for the abolition of the high income child benefit charge and the extension of transferable personal allowances.
There has been speculation in the press that something significant will happen on inheritance tax – maybe even its abolition – but the lukewarm response to that idea when it was floated may have put the government off. More likely, perhaps, to be promised pre-election if they are re-elected! Another idea trailed was a revamp of individual savings accounts so maybe that will be included.
The Labour party has gone big on adding VAT to private school fees but it is our view that the Conservatives will not want to start a 'my VAT policy is better than yours' fight.
As regards electric cars, we think it unlikely that, as the government has reduced the size of the stick by postponing the date to end non-electric sales it will do anything about the carrots it offers.
Maybe we will see some of the oft-promised tax simplification. But unlikely we think.
On the spending side of the equation, we may get some more detail on how the government will use the HS2 savings.
Whatever emerges we will be on top of it so you can be too.
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