Out went the old world of austerity and, as expected, in came significant spending promises and tax breaks, particularly the promised increase in the national insurance threshold. Another example of the government ‘listening’ is pension tax relief, with changes being made in response to criticism of a system that penalised medical consultants working longer hours. Much was made about the UK’s future as a centre of Research and Development, with significant funding promised for all regions and an increase in the Research and Development Expenditure Credit to boost growth.
Less was said about how the spending promises would be paid for. The only tax ‘rises’ of note being the cancellation of the previously announced reduction in corporation tax and a reduction of the Entrepreneurs’ Relief lifetime limit to £1m.
Finally, tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance were again mentioned in dispatches, although with less detail about how additional funds would be targeted than in previous years.
All in all, a government that is to break with the past and ‘get things done’, but which provided little clarity about how this activity will be paid for.