Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, today (15 March) presented his Spring Budget 2023 to Parliament.

He commented: “In the Autumn Statement 2022, the government took the difficult decisions needed on tax and spending to restore economic stability, support public services, and lay the foundation for long-term growth.

“At Spring Budget 2023 the government is building on this foundation, with a plan to deliver on three of the five key priorities set out by the Prime Minister in January: to halve inflation, grow the economy and get debt falling.”

Key points:

  • Inflation is expected to reduce to 2.9% by the end of the year (falling from 10.7% at the end of 2022).
  • The energy price guarantee will remain at £2,500 until July 2023. It had been set to rise to £3,000.
  • 30 hours free childcare for children over the age of nine months, with boosts to subsidised childcare for parents on Universal Credit.
  • An extension of the 5p cut in fuel duty for a year, with fuel duty frozen for the next 12 months.
  • The lifetime allowance (the amount workers can accumulate in pension savings before extra tax) has been abolished.
  • A new apprenticeship, called a ‘returnership’, will be created for those aged 50+ wanting to return to work.
  • Increase in corporation tax on profits over £250,000 from 19% to 25% from April.
  • An enhanced credit for small and medium-sized businesses if they spend 40% or more of their total expenditure on research and development. These businesses can claim credit of £27 for every £100 spent.

Commenting on the announcement, Richard Lambert, chief executive of the National Hair & Beauty Federation (NHBF) says:

“It can’t be a ‘growth Budget’ with no action on the VAT threshold which is acting as strong disincentive to growth for small and micro sector businesses.

“The UK can’t be the ‘best place in the world for female entrepreneurs’ with hair & beauty businesses clinging on by their fingertips and a gaping hole in employer support for apprenticeships.

“As a result of exponential increases in energy and business costs, some employers are now tragically being forced to let go apprentices because the numbers simply don’t add up anymore. So much for supporting the next generation of entry level British talent.

“While the investment zones, support for childcare and ‘returnerships’ may benefit some in the sector, there is little to offer immediate relief to businesses locked into extortionate energy contracts. We call on the government and Ofgem to facilitate urgent talks with suppliers to at least allow business contract payments over a longer period of time.”

By Editor