Jeremy Hunt cuts National Insurance by 2p

Wednesday 6 March, 2024

Jeremy Hunt’s highly anticipated budget announcement has now clearly outlined the allocation of the country’s resources to the House of Commons. It serves as a reflection of the government's overarching vision and response to the prevailing economic challenges and opportunities. 

With expectations high and stakes significant, the unveiling of the budget represents a crucial juncture for policymakers, businesses, and the public alike, as they assess its implications for growth, prosperity, and societal well-being before the all-important general election.

Budget Headlines

Tax and Income Support

  • National Insurance, a payroll tax, cut by 2p in the pound for employees and the self-employed
  • Non-dom tax regime, for UK residents whose permanent home is overseas, to be replaced with new rules from April 2025
  • £5,000 "British ISA" tax allowance for individual savers to invest in UK-listed companies
  • Longer repayment period for people on benefits taking out emergency budgeting loans from the government
  • £90 fee to obtain a debt relief order scrapped
  • Government fund for people struggling with cost-of-living pressures to continue for another six months

Cigarettes, Vapes and Alcohol

  • Freeze on alcohol duty, which had been due to end in August, to continue until February 2025
  • New tax on vaping products to start in October 2026, following a consultation
  • Existing tax on tobacco to increase, to maintain the "financial incentive to choose vaping over smoking"

Transport and Energy

  • Fuel duty frozen again, with the 5p cut in fuel duty on petrol and diesel, due to end later this month, kept for another year
  • £160m deal for UK government to purchase site of planned Wylfa nuclear site in north Wales
  • "Windfall" tax on the profits of energy firms, which had been scheduled to end in March 2028, extended until 2029
  • Air passenger duty, the tax paid on flights, to go up for business class tickets

Public debt, inflation and the economy

  • Office for Budget Responsibility predicts UK economy to grow by 0.8% this year and 1.9% next year
  • Growth of 2% predicted for 2026, with 1.8% in 2027 and 1.7% in 2028
  • UK's inflation rate forecast to fall below 2% target "in just a few months' time"
  • Underlying debt, excluding Bank of England debt, forecast to be 91.7% of GDP this year, rising to 92.8% next year
  • Overall day-to-day government spending to grow by 1% in real terms over next five years

Business and Investment

  • Threshold at which small businesses must register to pay VAT raised from £85,000 to £90,000 from April
  • Tax reliefs for touring and orchestral productions, which had to been due to end in March 2025, made permanent

Additional measures

  • £1m for a memorial to honour Muslims who fought for Britain during World War One and Two
  • A new tax credit for independent UK films with a budget of less than £15m


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