Yesterday’s budget announcement, which was the final major political event before the election in May, packed little in the way of surprises. Reaction from the recruitment industry has been positive overall.
The Coalition was clearly keen to push the fact that five years of austerity is the reason that the UK is ‘walking tall’ and that Britain is ‘working again’. Indeed, the Treasury has certainly been buoyed by a period of significantly positive outcomes for the economy and growth in general.
Recent figures suggest the economy is set to grow by 2.5% in 2015, which is above predictions and that the national debt as a share of GDP has reduced.
One of the main things that the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) picked up on was the recognition that the significant move toward self-employment in the skilled workforce had in the Chancellor’s speech.
It is understood there are now 4.53 million self-employed workers in the UK and they will now not have to pay class two national insurance contributions in the next parliament. Annual tax returns will also to be abolished, which altogether represents a significant improvement for those who dread the end of every January.
As expected, there will be changes to the income tax allowance with personal tax-free allowance raised to £10,800 in 2016 and £11,000 the year after. The Chancellor also stated that the higher-rate threshold will go above inflation by 2017-18 and there was a commitment to raising this to £50,000.
Many international companies in the UK were also thrown a sweetener as a cut to 20% in Corporation tax ensures that the UK remains favourable with the global players. However, new measures for tax avoiders are expected to create a £5bn Treasury saving.
For RSG’s regional offices in Manchester and Cardiff there was also some good news as Mr Osbourne announced that Greater Manchester will keep all of its extra revenue from increased business rates as it grows.
And a comprehensive infrastructure and transport investment strategy is in negotiation with a deal that looks set to massively benefit Cardiff.
Mr Osbourne also addressed the issues around agencies which ‘abuse tax reliefs on travel and subsistence”. APSCo responded to this by defining what kinds of organisations these are – ie: umbrella agencies and PSCs.
Particular highlights of the day though were not actually generated from the House of Commons – we loved The Economist’s (often talked about but never actually done) Budget Bingo http://www.economist.com/britain/budgetbingo?fsrc=scn/tw_ec/bingo_
And also this look back by the Guardian newspaper, which asked ‘What have six budgets done to Osbourne’?http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/mar/18/budgets-george-osborne-how-chancellor-shaped-up-over-years
Now, the question of course remains – will he be in around next year to deliver a seventh?
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