The Times went to Hammond’s own seat of Runnymede & Weybridge, to ask the people of the high street how they felt about the budget. I summed it up to: It’s ok, but nothing spectacular. Reading this reminded me of iPhone 8 launch: Loads of rumours into the run-up. The liveblogs surrounding the announcements. The presentation is over and everyone feeling a little annoyed as all the rumours were right, and nothing major was new.
No one really wins, more who loses the least – but that’s being pessimistic. I suppose, most people’s lives will improve, even if only by a small amount in a minor part of their life.
According to the Conservatives giving 1/3 off rail fares for 26-30-year-olds will bridge the gap between their income and whats needed – although I’m sure it’ll be appreciated by some. Students who are on plan 2 of student finance (Post-2012 reform) will have to earn £25,000 before they start to pay back their loan. It appears that the government realise they’ll only get a small proportion of the loans back, so this change only reduces income a small amount for the government, but will be appreciated by many students.
Stamp duty is open to much controversy, and this change seems to be fronting the budget as it’s one of the most major changes. There are changes for first-time buyers: Houses that are valued under £300,000 will not have any stamp duty applied to them, which represents 80% of first-time buyers and houses worth between £300,000 and £500,000 have their stamp duty cut by £5,000. They also plan to expand the highly controversial help-to-buy scheme.
The duty on alcohol hasn’t been touched – I hear a cheer from the commons. The only change is on White Cider, which I can’t imagine there are many people who will refuse to drink white cider due to the change. The chancellor gave in to pressure from the Scotch Whiskey Association to scrap the planned 3.9% duty increase on whiskey.
Finally! Change to the education budget – well, not really. The only change is an increase of £600 per student who studies maths A-level. The government is alarmed at the lacking of young mathematicians, and they hope this will encourage schools to make maths look more attractive – but it comes down to students will-to-do maths, and giving the school money won’t make a pupil suddenly want to change life plans.
A wholesome £3bn was added to the budget for leaving the EU, which will impress 52% of the voters and dismay the rest. This is in addition to the already existing £700m in the pot – which leads to us asking, who’s losing out to fund this.
Universal Credit Claimants
A win and a loss: The loss being universal credit hasn’t been scrapped, which hasn’t impressed too many people. The win, from January claimants, will be able to apply for an interest-free payment advance and to receive this within 5 days.
Although the fuel duty on both unleaded and diesel hasn’t been moved, the taxation isn’t too pretty. From April, diesel vehicles who don’t meet the latest clean air standards will have their tax band increased by one. This looks like an attempt to strangle diesel drivers into giving up their cars and move to cleaner cars – either from government peer pressure (unlikely) or from the inability to afford them (likely). (Although that’s an oversimplification, some diesel cars give out much less CO2 than petrol cars – but it’s not the time to debate that.)
From the evening of budget day, duty rates increased 2% above inflation and hand-rolling tobacco a further 1% – this is planned to continue until the end of this parliament session.
For education, he mentioned maths and computing and then let everyone else down, including core funding. This didn’t settle well with many unions and teachers alike.
The Growth Forecast
It isn’t always greener on the other side.
2017: 1.5%, down from 2% in Spring
2018: 1.4%, down from 1.6%
2019: 1.3%, down from 1.7%
2020: 1.3%, down from 1.9%
2021: 1.6%, down from 2.0%
At least if you drew it, it would be a fairly decent curve.
Empty House Owners
The council tax for empty houses can now be doubled – an attempt to prevent empty houses. But I feel if you can afford another empty house, then you could probably afford that little bit extra council tax.
I missed a lot out – but I feel this is the important parts of a very important document. More information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/autumn-budget-2017-25-things-you-need-to-know