30 October 2018
And so ‘spreadsheet’ Phil has delivered his last Budget pre-Brexit. It was cautiously welcomed by business and derided as ‘half measures and quick fixes’ by the opposition. Whatever political persuasion you are, there appears to be something for ‘everyone’ within it.
The headline spending plans of more money for the NHS and Mental Health has been trumpeted long and hard before this Budget, but additional monies for schools (£400m extra capital budget), defence (£1bn) and Universal Credit were not so public beforehand.
For business and individuals, farmers included, announcements around capital investment (raising of the AIA for a two year period), better targeting of the Employment Allowance, changes to the rules and financing packages of those Apprenticeship Levy paying businesses that access the apprenticeship fund, are all welcome, as are the increase in the personal allowance and basic rate bands of tax. The reintroduction of a Structures and Buildings Allowance, may be of benefit to farmers, if they are planning new barns/storage facilities on their farms.
Some farmers or owners of farmland and property may be caught up in the intended consultation on the Business rates treatment of self-catering and holiday let accommodation. Apparently declaring that a property is available for letting can qualify the property for Business rates and the inherent reliefs that come with it as opposed to Council Tax, so potentially farmers may need to to check on the commerciality of the letting going forward.
Enhanced capital allowances for energy efficient and water efficient technologies will end from 2020 but enhanced capital allowances for electric vehicle charge points will be extended for companies until 31 March 2023.
Some of these measures will create opportunities for farmers and businesses alike and some may create more red tape; whatever the case this may all change depending on Brexit. We must wait and see as always the devil of the annual Budget is always in the detail.