23rd November 2017

More money for housing and limited giveaways in some other key areas, but downgrades to growth forecasts meant limited room for manoeuvre.

Chancellor Philip Hammond had a tricky task yesterday, facing calls from many quarters for increased spending in particular areas (part of a general feeling that people are fed up with austerity), while downgrades in the Office for Budgetary Responsibility’s forecasts reduced expected tax receipts. And the parliamentary arithmetic makes getting any tax increases through difficult. The Tories at least (including his Brexiteer critics) seem to feel that he did a good job under difficult circumstances.

The main headline-grabbing announcement was the abolition of Stamp Duty Land Tax for first-time buyers on properties worth up to £300,000, as part of a package of measures relating to housing. For businesses, there was an increase in the rate of Research and Development (R&D) Expenditure Credit, but a freezing of indexation allowance for companies at December 2017 RPI for future capital gains disposals.

There was also increased tax relief for investment under the Enterprise Investment Scheme in knowledge-intensive companies, counter-balanced by a tightening in focus of venture capital schemes (IEIS, Seed EIS and VCTs) towards potentially riskier growth investments (an outcome of the recent ‘Patient Capital’ review).

A summary of the 2017 Autumn Budget is now available here.

We hope the summary provides a valuable guide to the significant announcements.

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