What can we expect from the budget next week?
On the expenditure side, infrastructure and the NHS seem to be the two major areas for investment. HS2 and other rail improvements in the North are likely to be beneficiaries as will carbon capture and other climate-related projects, for example, improving the energy efficiency of homes, schools and hospitals.
During the last election, the government disclosed that it will not be increasing any of the major taxes and has recently published details of an increase in the NIC threshold, to £9,500.
Corporation tax was due to reduce to 17% (from the present 19%) from April 2020. However, Boris Johnson did state that this intended reduction would be dropped, and the rate maintained at 19%.
There is speculation that higher rate tax relief will be trimmed for contributions into private pension funds from April 2020. This does add weight to the planning option to review top-up payments this month if you pay Income Tax at the 40% or 45% rates.
A cross-party group of MPs has called for a reduction in the rate of Inheritance Tax, from 40% to 10%, together with a reduction in many of the Inheritance Tax allowances and reliefs.
Business rates are another target for relief in an attempt to support beleaguered High Street businesses. Additional support has already been announced for retailers and pubs.
Meanwhile, back at number 11 Downing Street, Rishi Sunak will be burning the midnight oil to prepare himself for his dispatch-box presentation on 11 March. We will be reporting on the outcome of his disclosures in due course.
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