On 8th March 2017, chancellor Philip Hammond presented his first budget and the first since the shock result in last year’s Brexit referendum. Spending boosts for key areas had been leaked before budget day so, as a tax professional, I was waiting in trepidation to see where the burden of paying for them was going to fall. Some claimed Hammond would be a better friend to the small and medium-sized enterprise (‘SME’) sector than its arch enemy George Osborne. So, with mixed feelings, we all waited to see what he had to say.
As it transpired, this lightweight budget only brought yet more misery for the SME sector with the Government continuing to insist on mandatory digital record-keeping for all but the very smallest businesses. The justification for this measure involved an extraordinary exercise in the mathematics of imaginary numbers: if the chancellor believes this incredible work of fiction, he is truly living in La La Land!
The lightweight budget was made lighter still when the most significant measure: increases in national insurance rates for the self-employed, was cancelled a few days later in the fastest U-turn I have ever seen from any chancellor.
As usual though, despite the lack of headline-grabbing changes, there is still a fair amount happening in the background which has the potential to have a major impact on property investors.