Sunday, 22 September, 2019

Spring statement: 'Tigger' Hammond hails turning point for the economy

Philip Hammond has said here is 'light at the end of the tunnel' after years of austerity Philip Hammond has said here is ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ after years of austerity
Russell Knight | 15 March, 2018, 23:37

Mr Hammond suggested interim measures of taxing digital businesses on their revenues, which would target multinationals while simultaneously protecting start-ups in a consultation paper accompanying the Spring Statement. This is one of key policy questions of our time - or any time, for that matter, and it's great to see this government gets it.

"Someone who'd missed the Chancellor's protestations over the last few weeks would be forgiven for not realising that we'd moved from a Spring Budget to a Spring Statement".

The Chancellor's Spring Statement was something of a non-event.

"This can only be good news for innovative tech companies in the region as well as the wider business community since, depending on the outcome of these trials, this initiative is likely to evolve into a national 5G ecosystem", she said. The main idea is to devise gross-revenue-based determinants of taxable profits, e.g. starting from the amount of advertising revenue generated by a platform from the UK. It is, however, probably in large part because of Value-Added Tax factors that the authorities are focusing now on the digital platforms. Investment in physical infrastructure is important, from transport and housing to the increasingly critical areas of artificial intelligence, blockchain, and other innovative technologies, where material efforts to continue to upgrade the UK's mobile phone and broadband networks would be widely welcomed as a start.

The next step will be more clearly defined proposals in this year's November Budget statement. "Many will be forced to hike up council tax".

"Therefore, whilst many might have expected news or announcements around proposed tax or public spending changes, these were not going to come about". Yet B2B sectors are certainly not excluded from its scope. The government has has stated its intention to adjust the tax system to give a fairer result for digital businesses. Views are invited, for example, on whether the United Kingdom should follow some other countries in prohibiting the use of cash altogether for exceptionally large payments. This issue is also meant to go to consultation.

He also talked about the implementation of a digital tax as a possible solution to ensure digital giants like Google and Facebook pay their fair share of tax.

The Chancellor also announced a review into how to eliminate late payments to small businesses.

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Giggs also revealed that Reading midfielder David Edwards had retired from worldwide football. Giggs added: "You want your best players and Gareth is a tremendous player".

The outlook there remains generally positive, however. And given his speech included stellar news for the economy and a few goodies for small businesses, it's easy to see why there was nearly something giddy about his presentation.

"Given that businesses across the United Kingdom have long complained about constant tinkering with tax rates, the Statement's lack of tax and spending changes is welcome - and not before time".

While borrowing is down, inflation is set to fall and employment is rising, the growth figures are muted with the OBR placing them at just 1.5 per cent in the years ahead; a prediction from the OECD watchdog was even gloomier, suggesting the rise in GDP would be 1.3 per cent this year and 1.1 per cent in 2019, placing the United Kingdom at the bottom of the G20 growth table. GDP is projected to grow within the range of 1.3% to 1.5% in every year of the current forecast period up to 2022.

BPIF chief executive Charles Jarrold said: "Overall, I think the government wants to encourage more uptake in training and that needs to be properly funded. Business rates are among the biggest costs for high street businesses and smaller firms".

Public borrowing is now forecast to fall to 0.9% of GDP by 2022/23.

"The update and progress report were broadly as expected".

Hammond highlighted a forecast budget deficit of £45.2bn for 2017-18 - £4.7bn lower than predicted by the OBR in November. "These forecasts are likely to be no less fallible than earlier ones and, despite an improving trend in public borrowing, the burden of debt in the United Kingdom is still at its highest in over 50 years".

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