The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts suggest a sustained real wages growth in each of the next five years. This led the Chancellor to comment on a “significant improvement” in the public finances. He also said this would allow him to “set out a new path for public spending.” Key announcements from the Budget 2018 included the following:
- The NHS will be publishing a plan for reform, including a new NHS crisis service, with children and young people’s crisis teams available in all parts of the country. £84 million will also be invested over five years to expand programmes for children in care.
- Councils will be able to get more money from the social care precept, with a green paper on the future of social care to be published soon.
- £1 billion extra in defence funding over the next two years to boost the UK’s cyber capabilities and anti-submarine warfare capacity. An additional £160 million of Counter Terrorism police funding for 2019-20.
- Marking the centenary of the First World War, with an extra £10 million for the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust to support veterans with mental health needs.
- An additional £10 million will be made available for air ambulance services.
- A £400 million fund to help schools, averaging £10,000 per primary school and £50,000 per Secondary School (one-off capital funding).
- An additional £420 million available immediately to Local Highway Authorities to tackle potholes, bridge repairs, and other minor works in this financial year.
- £1.6 billion of new investments to support the modern Industrial Strategy.
- A £695 million initiative to help small firms hire apprentices.
- A new UK Digital Services Tax.
- Business rates will be cut by one third for firms with a rateable value of less than £50,000.
- A £675 million Future High Streets Fund to provide support for the British High Street.
- £500 million for the Housing Infrastructure Fund to unlock 650,000 homes.
- A package of measures worth £1 billion over five years to assist the migration to Universal Credit. Work allowances in Universal Credit will also be increased by £1,000, at a cost of £1.7 billion.
- From April 2019, the National Living Wage will rise by 4.9%, from £7.83 to £8.21. The Government will also raise the tax-free Personal Allowance to £12,500 and the Higher Rate Threshold to £50,000 from next April.
- And much more….
The Chancellor commented that, as the UK prepares to leave the EU, the Government is taking further steps to ensure a positive future by investing in public services, supporting businesses, and boosting living standards across the country. Find out more here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/budget-2018-24-things-you-need-to-know