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Specialists in Logistics & Transport Law - Call 01254 828300

Autumn Budget 2018 – What does it mean for you as an operator?

According to the Chancellor, Phillip Hammond, wage growth is at its highest and there are 3.3 million more people in work since 2022. The economy is forecast to grow in 2019 and the era of austerity is apparently finally coming to an end. There were over 70 points made in the Chancellor’s third budget on 29 October 2018, but we have summarised some of the key ones for operators below so you can see at a glance the points that might be important to you.

Transport specific

  • Fuel duty to be frozen for the ninth year in a row.
    There will be a £30 billion package for England’s roads, including repairs to potholes and motorways.
  • A 30% growth in infrastructure spending is anticipated although we do not have specifics of this.
  • Opening the use of e-passport gates at airports – currently available to people from Europe – to those from the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Japan.

Whilst on the road

  • New 100% mandatory business rates relief for all lavatories made available to the public.
  • No tax on takeaway coffee cups, so no price increase to be passed on at this point.
    An extra £160 million for counter-terrorism police is proposed.

Money you pay or earn

  • The National Living Wage will increase by 4.9%, from £7.83 to £8.21 an hour, from April 2019.
  • The rate at which people start paying income tax at 20%, to rise from £11,850 to £12,500 in April 2019. This is known as the personal allowance threshold and means you can earn more before you start paying tax.
  • The point at which people start paying tax at 40%, to rise from £46,350 to £50,000 in April. This is known as the higher rate income tax threshold.
  • Tax rates and thresholds are different in Scotland. The Scottish Government’s Finance Secretary, Derek Mackay, will set out his plan on 12 December 2018.

Your staff

  • The contribution of small companies to apprenticeship levy is to be reduced from 10% to 5%.
  • The changes to the way self-employment status is taxed will be extended, from the public sector to medium and large private companies, from 2020. This is relevant if you hire a number of people as self-employed and pay them through a service company.

Your premises

  • Business rates bill for firms with a rateable value of £51,000 or less are to be reduced by a third over two years.
  • £900 million in business rates relief for small businesses is expected.

Alcohol and tobacco

  • Beer, cider and spirits duties to be frozen, but duty on wine will increase by 8 pence in February 2019.
  • If you are also a smoker, you can expect to see prices rise on tobacco products.

Conclusion

The good news is that operators will not be feeling the impact of this Autumn Budget statement at the pumps. The investment in the UK’s road network is also a welcome surprise. However, in the wake of an additional £500 million promised in this Budget for the preparations for leaving the EU, it remains to be seen what further changes will be introduced in the Spring Statement next March and if this is actually upgraded to a full Budget (most likely if there is “no-deal”).  If you would like any advice in respect of how this might affect your business, please call Jo Dawson-Gerrard on 01254 828300.

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