If the writing was ever on the wall, this budget really was it.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak – who, interestingly(?), began his City career as an investment analyst for Goldman Sachs – told us that the coronavirus outbreak is “going to be tough”. As a result, many of the measures he announced are designed to help us cope and prepare for up to 20% of the working population being off sick at any one time. A sobering thought.
From changes to statutory sick pay through to tax deferments for businesses and the self-employed, money is being made available to keep the economy going.
Infrastructure projects, R&D, education and, of course, the NHS – aligned to the current crisis and beyond – are all beneficiaries of a spending spree designed to give significant impetus to post-Brexit Britain.
I couldn’t help but notice there was limited (actually very little) reference to how this was all going to be paid for. So – with daughter’s words ringing in my ears, “Mum, what you find interesting… isn’t!” – I did the rather dull thing of going online and looking at the Budget papers as soon as the Chancellor’s posterior hit the green leather. And here are a couple of stats that you might not see, or hear, from other reports and discussions:
Income tax receipts from 2019/20 to 2020/21 are forecast to increase by some 5.9% compared with an increase of just 1.3% between 2018 – 2020. Now I’m no economist, so I’m left asking if that’s because there are more of us in work, who are working longer and not dying as early (although Covid-19 might have other ideas about that)?
Businesses with a wage bill of £3m will still be paying ½ % into the Apprenticeship Levy and this is set to rise by anther £200m this year and further £100m next year (that’s a 16% increase from 2018, if the forecasts are correct). Does this also support the notion, above, that there will be more workers drawing a salary and paying tax (again, Covid-19 permitting)?