Philip Hammond announces the Spring Statement
Philip Hammond has presented his spring statement. He kept to his promise from 2016: ‘No other major economy makes hundreds of tax changes twice a year, and neither should we. If unexpected changes in the economy require it, then I will, of course, announce actions at the spring statement. But I won’t make significant changes twice a year just for the sake of it.’
Mr Hammond confirmed that tax changes would wait until the autumn to allow more time for scrutiny and consultation before the start of the following fiscal year.
The HM Treasury website explains that the spring statement:
- gives an update on the overall health of the economy and the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts;
- gives an update on progress made since autumn Budget 2017;
- invites people and businesses to give views on changes the government is considering.
However, there were some mentions of tax in the speech.
- An announcement that the next property revaluation for business rates is being brought forward by one year to 2021.
- A call for evidence on using the tax system or charges to address single-use plastic waste.
- A position paper setting out the government’s view on the challenges posed by the digital economy for the corporate tax system and its preferred solutions.
- A call for evidence on the role of cash and digital payments in the new economy.
- A consultation on the extension of tax relief for training by employees and the self-employed to support upskilling and retraining.
Also mentioned in the speech in relation to tax was that there would be:
- a call for evidence on whether the use of non-agricultural red diesel tax relief contributes to poor air quality in urban areas; and
- a consultation on reduced vehicle excise duty (VED) rates for the cleanest vans.
And published on the HM Treasury at the same time was:
- a call for evidence on the impact of VAT and APD on tourism in Northern Ireland;
- a consultation seeking views on changes to entrepreneurs’ relief to ensure that it does not discourage entrepreneurs from seeking external finance for their companies; and
- a call for evidence on the VAT registration threshold;
- a consultation on creating a fund structure within the enterprise investment scheme for investment in innovative knowledge-intensive companies;
- a consultation seeking views on possible options for how a potential split payment mechanism could work to combat online VAT fraud;
- a consultation seeking views on extending the existing securities regime to corporation tax and construction industry scheme deductions; and
- a document summarising responses to the consultation on the tax treatment of heated tobacco products. It also provides the government response, indicating an intention to create a new excise category for heated tobacco products.