Ahead of tomorrow's Autumn Budget City A.M. looks at the areas that chancellor Philip Hammond is likely to focus on in his last chance to tweak the UK’s fiscal regime before the Brexit deadline in March
Hammond is expected to announce almost £30bn for new road projects and repairs which will be partially funded by revenues from vehicle excise duty. He is also set to give £420m to councils to fix potholes.
The chancellor is also expected to announce further funding for the UK’s communications infrastructure with predictions he will splash £250m to bring super fast broadband to remote areas of the UK.
The treasury is briefing a £1.5bn boost for smaller retailers with business rates slashed by a third. The pledge is expected to include £900m of immediate tax relief, a relaxation of planning laws and £650m to upgrade transport and infrastructure and redevelop empty shops as offices or houses.
Tech giant tax
There is also speculation that Hammond will target tech giant’s which have been criticised for not paying enough tax in the UK. In his speech to the Conservative Party conference earlier this month Hammond threatened to unilaterally impose a UK digital services tax if an international agreement on taxing tech firms could not be reached.
Former defence secretary Hammond is expected to provide more money for the Ministry of Defence amid Tory anger at underfunding for defence and warnings of a massive budget blackhole. Reports suggest the chancellor could find £500m-£1bn to help plug the gap.
Income tax cuts
In the 2017 election manifesto the Conservative’s pledged to increase the personal tax allowance to £12,500 and the higher threshold to £50,000 in 2020-2021, however there is speculation that the chancellor could make the cut this year after the UK’s finances looked healthier than expected.
Pay day loan scheme
Treasury leaks suggest a new payday loans scheme will be announced which will provide credit to people on low incomes to keep them out of the clutches of high-interest lenders or loan sharks.
Mental heath funding
The treasury has also trailed an increase in mental health spending of at least £2bn a year in real terms by 2023-24 which will create new services including mental health support in every major accident and emergency department.
The chancellor is expected to pledge £60m in fresh cash to plant trees in both urban areas and countryside.