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Free event: What the Budget means for you

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Philip Hammond

Speculation is intensifying in the run up to Philip Hammond’s first Autumn Budget on November 22.

He is expected to make a pitch to younger voters with measures to boost the supply of housing and tackle affordability issues.

But what about business and personal taxation?

You can find out exactly what the Budget means for you, and your business, at our free Budget Breakfast on Friday November 24.

Cumbria Chamber of Commerce is staging the event, at the North Lakes Hotel, Penrith, in partnership with RSM UK Group LLP, the audit, tax and consulting service providers formerly known as Baker Tilly.

Rob Johnston, Chief Executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is potentially the most significant Budget for years.

“It’s the first opportunity that Philip Hammond has had since the General Election to set the direction of the Government’s economic policy in the new Parliament as we move towards Brexit in 2019.

“Very often it’s not what is in the Chancellor’s speech that is significant, but the small print in the Treasury papers released afterwards.

“That’s why we are waiting until the Friday, two days after the Budget, before holding the breakfast event.

“That gives us time to drill down into the detail to provide insightful analysis into what the Budget really means for business people.

This is potentially the most significant Budget for years.

“This will be essential information, making it well worth attending.”

The event begins at 8am with a buffet breakfast and concludes around 10am.

To book your free place, click here.

For more information, email our business development manager Derek Armstrong at derek@cumbriachamber.co.uk or call him on 07841 743066.

RSM believes that the Chancellor does has some room for manoeuvre.

Government borrowing is reportedly £10bn lower than forecast in 2017-18 on the back of buoyant tax receipts and lower public spending.

But Mr Hammond faces a raft of spending pressures, including demands to ease the burden of student debt and lift the cap on public sector pay.

The British Chambers of Commerce, to which Cumbria Chamber is affiliated, has made a detailed submission to the Chancellor setting out measures to boost investment and productivity.

Top of our wish list is a two-year freeze in business rates.

Business rates increase annually in April in line with Retail Price Index the previous September. That means a rise of 3.9% is due in 2018.

Our other proposals include:

  • Removing plant and machinery from business rates valuations;
  • No more taxes or significant costs on businesses;
  • A ‘Brexit Special’ annual investment allowance, allowing businesses to offset investments of up to £1m against tax;
  • Investment in infrastructure to fix gaps in mobile phone coverage by 2020 and kickstart road and rail projects.

To pay for these measures, we have suggested that the Government delays plans to reduce Corporation Tax from 19% to 17% until after Brexit.

Rob added: “We want bold action from the Chancellor to deliver a big Budget that prioritises economic confidence and investment.

The Chancellor is broke. He has spending pressures but hasn’t got any money. How are they going to square that circle?

“Investment in broadband, mobile phone coverage and in roads and railways are national priorities but they are needed in Cumbria more than anywhere.”

Meanwhile, Sir Steve Webb, the former Pensions Secretary, told a recent Chamber/Financial Management Bureau event in Kendal that the Chancellor was likely to target pensions’ tax relief to raise funds for spending elsewhere.

He foresees possible cuts to the £40,000 annual cap on pension contributions, the £1m lifetime limit and the annual taper for those on high incomes.

He said: “The Chancellor is broke. He has spending pressures but hasn’t got any money. How are they going to square that circle?

“Think of a bit of the tax system that’s really complicated, that nobody really understands and has billions of pounds sloshing around.

“Pensions’ tax relief ticks all these boxes. Nobody is going to march on Westminster because they can’t put £40,000 a year into a pension.”

© Cumbria Chamber of Commerce

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