The UK economy will not enter a recession this year, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has said as he unveiled his Spring Budget aimed at bringing inflation and debt down while encouraging growth.
There were few surprises in the Chancellor’s budget and very little in the way of help for small businesses as Jeremy Hunt announced an expansion of the 30 hours of free childcare for children over the age of nine months, a freeze on fuel and a pub pint duties, and a three-month extension of the Energy Price Guarantee.
Announcing that the rate of corporation tax will rise next month from 19% to 25% for companies with over £250,000 in profits, he also unveiled a new scheme to allow every pound invested by businesses in IT equipment, plant or machinery to be deducted in full from taxable profits.
Part of a £27 billion tax cut for business, the chancellor said it would “drive investment and growth”.
The biggest reforms came in the form of a boost to encourage more people back into work by removing barriers that stop those on benefits, older workers, and those with health conditions who want to work from working. This includes scraping the lifetime allowance on tax-free pension contributions, increasing the annual allowance from £40,000 to £60,000 and a new ‘Returnerships’ apprenticeship targeted at getting the over 50s back into work.
A new scheme to find disabled people suitable roles in the workplace was also announced along with a £400 million investment in services for mental health, musculoskeletal conditions, and cardiovascular disease to tackle the leading health causes keeping people out of work.