It’s now just a matter of hours before Chancellor Philip Hammond makes what will be his first, and also the UK’s last, spring Budget.
The Chancellor has played down the significance of this Budget and as such there are unlikely to be any big spending plans or tax reforms.
Instead Hammond, or spreadsheet Phil he is affectionately known in some circles, is expected to focus his attention on equipping the UK to meet the challenges of a “rapidly changing economy”.
He received a boost before the Budget when the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) upgraded its forecasts for the UK’s economic growth this year from 1.2% to 1.6%.
However the OECD did warn that rising inflation could soon start to pinch as the cost of living rises.
And in what surely must be a further boost for the Hammond’s confidence his predecessor George Osborne has wished him the best.
Good luck Philip with the first of what I hope will be many successful budgets. Standing there with that red box is quite a moment.Enjoy it!
— George Osborne (@George_Osborne) March 8, 2017
We look at what we could expect to see in the Budget later today:
We’ve know about it for a while but buy-to-let changes will finally come into effect following this Budget.
At the moment, landlords can deduct mortgage interest and other finance-related costs from their rental income before calculating tax liability.
However from April this will been phased out and replaced with a “tax credit” worth 20% of the mortgage interest cost (offset against income tax).
The first cut sees mortgage interest relief cut from 100% to 75% in April.
This one is as old as the hills. Despite calls for a reform of stamp duty so far the government has resisted the urge to make wholesale changes.
Despite claims that reform could play a significant role in solving the housing crisis it still remains unlikely that there will be any change.
Ideas mooted include pivoting stamp duty so that it is paid by the seller or replacing it, along with Council Tax, with an annual property-based tax set at a fixed percentage of a property’s value.
It looks unlikely that we will see any change but stranger things have happened.
As has become standard over recent Budget’s expect the Chancellor to promise more affordable housing.
Expect plans to build more homes. However based on the damp squib that was the housing White Paper don’t expect any drastic planning reforms to help get things moving.
We will see the introduction of the family home allowance in April. This will be worth £100,000 per person when passing on a main home in addition to the existing £325,000 per person inheritance tax allowance.
As a result each individual can pass on £425,000 without paying inheritance tax, so long as it includes the family home and passes directly to children or grandchildren and is not via a discretionary trust.
Changes to the business rates system are expected following criticism of April’s revaluation from lobbyists and backbenchers.
Businesses are really concerned about the impact of the changes on 1 April and many are calling for a complete overhaul of rates.
The Chancellor is likely to say he will find “new money” to help bail out rates losers in London.
Experts predict relief will come in the form of a one-off giveaway where rateable value increases have exceeded 50% or more.
Following the Budget the total tax-free limit for ISAs will rise from £15,240 to £20,000.
Small print crack down
Plans will be set out to crack down small print. Powers will be put in place to prevent so called ‘subscription traps’ (where consumers pay for membership plans they aren’t aware they’ve agreed to).
Citizens Advice said as many as 2 million are stuck in such traps.
Income tax and national insurance
The personal allowance will increase by £500 to £11,500 for the 2017-18 tax year.
Above that you will pay 20% tax until your income reaches the 40% tax band, the threshold for which is earnings above £43,000, but this will rise to £45,000 from 6 April.
It’s also been rumoured that we could see national insurance for self-employed workers upped by 3p in the pound to 12p.
Most importantly beer. As it happens drinkers may well get some relief if Hammond succumbs to the pressure from, avid beer drinkers and anorak wearers, Camra who have been lobbying to cut beer duty.
However if you like a cigarette with your pint it is likely to be as harmful to your wallet as your lungs. Expect cigarette prices to increase.
The Budget takes place at 12:30 today following PMQs. Follow us on Twitter @mortgagechat and keep your eyes on the Mortgage Introducer website to see the updates.