Autumn Budget 2021

With much having been announced or shared in advance of the Chancellor rising to his feet, there were few elements left to surprise in what Rishi Sunak has labelled a Budget delivering a ‘Stronger Economy for the British People’.

OBR predictions for a speedier recovery of the economy to pre Covid levels have removed the need for any significant moves on tax at this stage, leaving the Chancellor free to target areas as he sees fit.

The long-debated changes to the taxation of personal wealth are, for example, yet to materialise, and the previously announced future increase in Corporate Tax rates was balanced with targeted reliefs for those industries hardest hit by Covid.  Despite the calls to remove Business Rates altogether, Rishi has settled on reliefs for those improving their properties and those in retail hospitality and leisure.  Reforms to the business rates system, together with cultural tax reliefs and domestic air passenger duty reliefs, aim to support specific areas of the economy where the return to ‘normal’ is taking the longest. 

Autumn budget 2021 tax facts

We also saw a flurry of post-Brexit changes, the Chancellor delighting in being able to make small but meaningful changes in certain areas to ‘go it alone.’  Some points in this area include measures to protect and incentivise domestic R&D activities, English winegrowers, and alcohol producers and encourage re-domiciliation of the shipping industry with changes and proposals for the UK tonnage tax regime.

However, through measures announced today and previously, the desire to manage inflationary pressures and reduce the overall deficit post-Covid will put increasing pressure on consumers and employers.  The Chancellor indicated his desire to see taxes start to decrease at the end of this government; however, how quickly and to what extent this is possible will depend on how fast the global economy, not just our own, recovers.  In short, no surprises, but there remain weapons in the armoury to call upon should they prove needed.

The Health and Social Care Levy