A plan to grow the economy

April 5, 2024

With the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) predicting the UK economy will expand by 0.8% this year, and by 1.9% in 2025, Jeremy Hunt delivered his last Spring Budget ahead of the General Election, highlighting reforms aimed to ensure the tax system is simple, fair, keeps pace with economic developments, and supports public finances.

Expectations are that the rate of inflation will fall below the Bank of England’s 2% target level in “a few months’ time,” with the OBR forecast showing the government is on track to meet its fiscal rules to grow the economy, reduce debt and halve inflation.

Changes to National Insurance contributions (NICs)

In line with speculation, following reductions to NICs announced during the Autumn Statement, the Chancellor announced further changes, specifically a reduction in the main rate of employee NICs by 2p in the pound from 10% to 8%, and a further 2p cut from the main rate of self-employed NICs, meaning the main rate of Class 4 NICs for the self-employed will reduce from 9% to 6%.

UK savings in focus

In order to promote more investment in UK assets, the government announced the introduction of a UK Individual Savings Account (ISA) with a £5,000 annual allowance in addition to the existing ISA allowance of £20,000. It will be a new tax-free savings product for people to invest in UK-focused assets (a consultation regarding implementation will be running to 6 June 2024). And a British Savings Bond will be delivered through National Savings & Investments (NS&I) in April 2024, offering a guaranteed interest rate, fixed for three years.

The 2024/25 tax year JISA (Junior Individual Savings Account) allowance remains at £9,000.

IHT consultation

It was announced that there will be a consultation on moving to a residence-based regime for Inheritance Tax (IHT). No changes to IHT will take effect before 6 April 2025, nil-rate band remains at £325,000 and the main residence nil-rate band at £175,000, with taper starting at £2m (estate value). From 1 April 2024, personal representatives of estates will no longer need to take out commercial loans to pay IHT before applying to obtain a grant on credit from HMRC.

Reviewing non-dom status and Child Benefit

In addition, it was announced that the non-dom status will be replaced by a new residence-based system from 6 April 2025. The government also announced an intention to move to a residence-based regime for Inheritance Tax (IHT), with plans to publish a policy consultation on these changes, followed by draft legislation for a technical legislation, later in the year.

Changes to the Child Benefit system included an increase to the threshold for the High Income Child Benefit Charge to £60,000 in April. The rate of the charge will be halved, so that Child Benefit is not lost in full until an individual earns £80,000 per annum, and by April 2026, the Child Benefit system will be based on household rather than individual incomes.

And pensions…

The government remain committed to the pensions Triple Lock. The value of the new State Pension will increase to £221.20 per week in April, while the basic State Pension increased to £169.50 per week.

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