The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, was keen to promote the positive aspects of the UK’s economic performance when he stood to present his Spring Statement on 13 March.
- Employment and manufacturing growth rising,
- Inflation and debt falling.
The speech was also peppered with the usual political gambits to boost his party at the expense of the opposition.
The one practical change that was disclosed was a change to the next business rates revaluation that will now take place a year earlier than planned, in 2021, with further reviews every three years starting 2024.
The Chancellor also revealed new consultations that may eventually shape future legislation. These will include:
- Reducing single-use plastic waste through the tax system. This will look at ways to reduce the impact of plastic waste in our environment such as disposable plastic cups, cutlery and foam trays. Some of the tax revenue raised will be used to fund research into new ways to encourage a more responsible use of plastic.
- Making sure multinational digital businesses pay a fair share of tax. This is an ongoing attempt to ensure that the larger digital players pay tax in the UK on sales they make in the UK.
- Seeking views on the role of cash in the new economy. Will cash become less relevant as digital payment processes become more widely used? This and the prevention of the use of cash to avoid tax and to launder the proceeds of criminal activity will be opened to a wider debate.
- Supporting people to get the skills they need. Improving skills to benefit growth in the economy by investing in upskilling and retraining, especially by the self-employed.
It will be interesting to see if these initiatives subsequently drive government policy and new legislation.