Tigger or Eeyore......?

Published: 15/03/2018 By Robert Coyle

As usual the government and the opposition will contradict each other over the Chancellor’s Spring Statement. Are there any parts of it that non-political accountants can like? Well yes….

Firstly the statement at 26 minutes was pretty brief by recent standards. The Chancellor did keep a promise and we didn’t get a mini budget. This is to be welcomed – the UK tax code for instance is already pretty much the most complex in the world and the 2006 Companies Act was the longest piece of legislation ever passed by the UK parliament.

Businesses and entrepreneurs have enough to cope with without the tax code changing twice a year. Looming changes that people need to be dealing with now include for instance GDPR – non-compliance with which could really cost you and which most businesses need to be doing quite a bit at haste now.

Cutting through the politics
Trying to ignore the left/right ping pong was there anything that politicians agreed upon? Well no one seemed to dispute that there is some pickup in growth and while not spectacular there has been some growth in productivity. This may mean some flexibility in the government finances in the latter part of the year – but the Chancellor is keeping his powder dry for now.

What does this mean for me?
What can’t be ignored is that the accumulated deficit remains very high and that there is considerable demand for extra spending, so there probably is very limited scope for any tax cuts any time soon. Indeed the government may be tempted to remove or tighten tax breaks in the future (pensions and CGT spring to mind although my crystal ball is as good as anyone’s). So as we head towards a new tax year it might be a good time to make sure you are using any allowances to the full – it might well be prudent to review ISA’s and pension contributions – oh and make sure you are ready for GDPR!