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Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Hammond's £100 BILLION giveaway: Chancellor mounts tax raid on Amazon and Facebook, slashes taxes for workers, and pledges billions to bail out troubled benefits reforms and the NHS (so where IS the money coming from, Phil?)

  • Chancellor Philip Hammond has unveiled potentially his last Budget before Britain leaves the European Union
  • Mr Hammond dramatically turned on spending taps with more money for NHS, mental health and defence
  • He is treading a delicate path between drawing a line under austerity and keeping the deficit under control
Philip Hammond mounted a bold raid on Amazon and Facebook and handed tax cuts to millions of workers today as he delivered what could be the last Budget before Britain leaves the EU.
The Chancellor said he would raise hundreds of millions of pounds a year by hitting web giants - who have been accused of failing to pay their fair share - with a levy based on revenues.
But the scale of the new levy was dwarfed by the huge spending splurge unveiled in the package, totalling an eye-watering £100billion over the next five years. 
Billions of pounds will be pumped into the NHS, social care, mental health and defence, while the troubled Universal Credit benefits reforms will be bailed out with another £1billion of 'transitional' protections and £1.7billion in improved work allowances - effectively reversing cuts previously imposed by George Osborne.
Increases to tax thresholds will be raised faster than previously promised - saving around 32 million workers £130 a year.
Mr Hammond said the giveaways were possible due to the 'tough decisions' the government had made over the past eight years - which had brought better growth forecasts and lower borrowing.
'Their hard work is finally paying off and the era of austerity is finally coming to an end,' he insisted. 
The Chancellor has already warned that this dramatic giveaway Budget assumes that there will be a Brexit deal - hinting that a collapse in the knife-edge negotiations with Brussels could undermine plans to draw a line under austerity. 
He said this afternoon he was 'confident' there will be a deal, suggesting it would bring a 'double dividend' from better growth and enabling him to free up the Brexit warchest.
But he revealed he is increasing spending on preparations for no-deal from £1.5billion to £2billion next year, and said if there is no settlement with the EU he is ready to 'upgrade' the Spring Statement to a full Budget. 
Mr Hammond also won cheers from MPs for announcing the end of controversial PFI projects - saying he had never signed off such a scheme and 'never will'.  
The Chancellor said he was safeguarding 'Britain's future' and helping the 'strivers' as he told the House of Commons he will pump more money into the NHS, social care, mental health and the armed forces
The Chancellor said in his Budget that growth had been upgraded marginally by the Office for Budget Responsibility 
The Chancellor said in his Budget that growth had been upgraded marginally by the Office for Budget Responsibility 
Philip Hammond posed with the famous red box outside No11 Downing Street today before delivering his Budget speech
Philip Hammond posed with the famous red box outside No11 Downing Street today before delivering his Budget speech
The House of Commons was packed to the rafters to hear the Chancellor deliver his pre-Brexit Budget this afternoon
The House of Commons was packed to the rafters to hear the Chancellor deliver his pre-Brexit Budget this afternoon
Setting out the digital tax plans, Mr Hammond said progress towards an international pact had been 'painfully slow'. 
'We cannot simply talk forever. So we will now introduce a UK Digital Services Tax,' he said.
'This will be a narrowly-targeted tax on the UK-generated revenues of specific digital platform business models. 
'It will be carefully designed to ensure it is established tech giants – rather than our tech start-ups - that shoulder the burden of this new tax.' 
The Chancellor stressed that the charge, due to come into effect in April 2020, would not be added to the cost of online sales for consumers. He said it would only affect firms with global revenues of more than £500million a year.
Unusually, the Budget is taking place on a Monday afternoon rather than the traditional Wednesday - with Mr Hammond joking that he was keen to avoid headlines about it happening on Halloween.
Among the measures being announced by Mr Hammond today are:
  • The personal allowance will hit the Tory manifesto target of £12,500 a year and the higher rate £50,000 in 2019 - a year earlier than planned. 
  • A rescue package to salvage the Government's flagship Universal Credit welfare reform will see an extra £1billion of transitional protections, and £1.7billion for increased work allowances;
  • A £30billion upgrade for England's motorways and other major routes paid for by road tax;
  • Fuel duty will be frozen for the ninth year in a row saving drivers and businesses millions of pounds, and there will be a £420million fund to tackle potholes; 
  • Around £800million extra for social care amid warnings that cuts to the system have left it on its knees;
  • A billion pounds to bail out the Armed Forces this year and next following fury from Tory MPs about the threat of cuts to capabilities;
  • A £1.5billion bailout for the High Street that includes slashing business rates for independent retailers;
  • A £60million pledge to plant more trees to help preserve the country's environment;
  • Some £160million for counter-terror policing amid claims Scotland Yard is struggling to keep pace with the threat from extremists; 
  • Plans to move people trapped on 'payday loans' to zero-interest Government loans;
  • A review into whether marriage licensing rules should be relaxed so ceremonies can take place in pubs and outdoors;
  • Duty on beer, cider and spirits have been frozen in the financial set-piece - although wine will go up;
  • The living wage will increase by 4.9 per cent to £8.21. 
Mr Hammond had been given wriggle room thanks to better-than-expected tax receipts, which staved off the need for mooted tax hikes such as curbs on pension reliefs.
But he had been penned in after the PM promised to inject £25billion extra into the NHS by 2023.
Mr Hammond said the OBR was estimating that growth would be 1.6 per cent next year, up from 1.3 per cent in the spring statement. The figure for 2020 is up to 1.4 per cent from 1.3 per cent, while it is unchanged at 1.4 per cent in 2021 and 2022. 
He said the settlement for departments had been negative in recent spending rounds but next year it would average 1.2 per cent - and could be higher.
'When our EU negotiations deliver a deal, as I am confident they will… I expect that the 'deal dividend' will allow us to provide further funding for the Spending Review,' he said.
On the issue of austerity, Mr Hammond said the country had reached a 'defining moment on this, long, hard journey' as it built a 'new future' outside the EU.
'I can report to the British people that their hard work is paying of, and the era of austerity finally coming to an end,' he said.  
Measures to clamp down on tax avoidance, evasion, and unfair outcomes expected to raise another £2billion over the next five years, he said.  
Mr Hammond was congratulated by Mrs May (right) and Treasury minister Liz Truss (left) as he sat down after his speech
Mr Hammond was congratulated by Mrs May (right) and Treasury minister Liz Truss (left) as he sat down after his speech
Theresa May seemed in good spirits as she left Downing Street this afternoon ahead of the Chancellor's Budget in the House of Commons
The Chancellor has been given some wriggle room with his deficit targets thanks to better-than-expected tax receipts
The Chancellor is treading a fine line between ending nearly a decade of austerity and keeping the deficit under control
The Chancellor is treading a fine line between ending nearly a decade of austerity and keeping the deficit under control
Mr Hammond also lined up alongside his Treasury team as they posed for the cameras before the Budget kicked off
Mr Hammond also lined up alongside his Treasury team as they posed for the cameras before the Budget kicked off
He confirmed that the first stage of the NHS long-term plan will be to help achieve 'parity of esteem' between mental and physical health services.
Mr Hammond argued that pumping £2billion a year into improving access to support will relieve pressure on other frontline services, such as the police that help people with mental health issues every day and sometimes have to use police station cells.
The extra cash will help pay for the provision of round-the-clock 'comprehensive' mental health support in every major accident and emergency department, ensuring anyone experiencing a crisis can get rapid specialist help. 
Officials say it will be backed up with more mental health ambulances and the establishment of dedicated mental health teams in schools, linking them to other support services. 


What has been announced in Chancellor Philip Hammond's 2018 Budget?

Here are some of the spending pledges announced in Philip Hammond's 2018 Budget:
Health:
An extra £25billion-a -year will be pumped into the NHS by 2023.
It includes a £2bn a year mental health fund to pay for every A&E and school to get a mental health unit.
Brexit:
An extra £500million will be pumped into planning for a no deal Brexit - rising the total from £1.5bn to £2bn. Mr Hammond also said the Spring Statement next year could be turned into a full Budget if there is a no deal Brexit. 
Broadband:
A £250million fund to install super-fast broadband across Britain's countryside 
Business:  
Business rates will be cut by nearly a third for half a million small retailers ans ministers try to save Britain's high streets.
Transport:
England's roads will get an extra £28.8billion, while a pothole fund of £420 million will be set up and fuel duty will be frozen for the ninth year in a row. 
PFI
The Chancellor announced that PFI will be scrapped as he puts an end to Labour 's legacy 
Schools:
The Treasury is giving a one off £400m payment to schools to help them buy equipment. This amounts to £10,000 for every primary and £50,000 for every secondary. 
Defence:
The MoD will get an extra £1bn to help Britain's Armed Forces following dire warnings over a £20bn blackhole in their finances over the next decade.
The Environment:
Britain will splash out £60million on planting 10 million trees across England. 
Tax:
The self-employed will have to pay national insurance contributions for the first time. The tax raid will prove unpopular with white van men, but could bring in £1.2bn year by 2023. 
Cutting red tape:
Weddings will be allowed to take place in pubs, hotels and restaurants as Philip Hammond slashes red rape.
When Mrs May announced the extra funding for the NHS, she suggested taxpayers will need to contribute a 'bit more' to pay for it. However ministers have yet to say exactly where the money will come from.

Mr Hammond was handed a windfall of £13billion due to better-than-expected borrowing figures, easing some of the pressure to put up taxes. 
Delivering a vicious swipe at PFI schemes - which have been condemned as too costly and still leaving the taxpayer bearing the risk - Mr Hammond said:
'I remain committed to the use of public-private partnership where it delivers value for the taxpayer and genuinely transfers risk to the private sector. But there is compelling evidence that the Private Finance Initiative does neither,' he said.
'We will honour existing contracts. But the days of the public sector being a pushover, must end. We will establish a centre of excellence to actively manage these contracts in the taxpayers' interest starting in the health sector. And we will go further. I have never signed off a PFI contract as Chancellor and I can confirm today that I never will. I can announce that the Government will abolish the use of PFI and PF2 for future projects.' 
Mr Hammond said from next April people would be able earn £12,500 a year tax-free and will not pay 40 per cent tax until they earn more than £50,000.
Those earning £12,500 will save £130 a year compared to their current income tax bill thanks to the rise in the personal allowance.
A far bigger saving will arrive for those earning £50,000, who will keep an extra £860 compared to their current income tax bill. 
Treasury sources said the health funding injection stood regardless of the Brexit situation - but hinted that departments could have to make do with less if there is no agreement.  
Mr Hammond said yesterday that the government would have to 'wait and see what the situation was' on ending austerity if there is no Brexit deal.
But Downing Street slapped down the Chancellor today, making clear the spending commitments in the Budget stood whether or not there is agreement with the EU.   
The Office for Budget Responsibility said in March that there was £15billion 'headroom' in the government's plans which could be deployed.
'What the Chancellor was pointing out in relation to a budget was that if economic circumstances change, he would consider economic interventions. That's what you would expect any sensible Chancellor to do,' the spokesman said. 
'All of the spending commitments that the Chancellor will set out today are funded irrespective of a deal.
'What the Chancellor said yesterday was that he would use the fiscal reserves that we have built up through hard work and sound economic management to ensure that Britain will succeed whatever the circumstances.
'The Chancellor has spoken on numerous occasions about having maintained what he would describe as 'fiscal firepower' which he will be able to use in the event of a no-deal scenario.'  
The DUP's Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson today delivered another warning that it could withdraw support from the Budget measures if Mrs May caves into the EU.
The party's 10 MPs are propping the PM up in power, and Mr Wilson said while it would not vote against the Budget this week it could target the Finance Bill later.
'To date we haven't seen the outcome of the withdrawal agreement so it would be reckless of us to oppose the budget on the basis of something we haven't seen.' he told the BBC.
'However, the government will need support when it comes to the finance bill, which implements the measures in the budget, when it comes to legislation for universal credit and a whole lot of other domestic legislation.
'So they shouldn't take it for granted that just because they get the budget passed that they can do whatever they like with Northern Ireland.' 
Mr Hammond unveiled the latest forecasts for the national debt, which is falling from a peak after the credit crunch 
Mr Hammond unveiled the latest forecasts for the national debt, which is falling from a peak after the credit crunch 
Mr Hammond heaped praise on the British 'jobs miracle' today as he made his statement to the House of Commons today
Mr Hammond heaped praise on the British 'jobs miracle' today as he made his statement to the House of Commons today

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell
Mr Hammond's wife Susan (left) was seen out walking their dogs near their London residence today. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell (right today) will have to sit and watch as by tradition the Opposition leader responds to the Budget
Political artist Kaya Mar staged an anti-Brexit demonstration outside Downing Street today - but Mr Hammond has tried to neutralise the issue by insisting there will be another Budget if talks with the EU fail
Political artist Kaya Mar staged an anti-Brexit demonstration outside Downing Street today - but Mr Hammond has tried to neutralise the issue by insisting there will be another Budget if talks with the EU fail
Fuel duty will be frozen by the Chancellor for the ninth year in a row, saving drivers and businesses millions of pounds
Fuel duty will be frozen by the Chancellor for the ninth year in a row, saving drivers and businesses millions of pounds
Philip Hammond targets firms like Amazon, Google and Facebook with new 'Digital Services Tax' to ensure tech giants pay their fair share of business taxes
Philip Hammond smacked online giants like Amazon with a new digital tax today in a bid to make sure tech giants pay a fair share of corporate taxes.
The Chancellor said he would have preferred a 'global agreement' on how to tax multi national firms.
But as he scrambles to raise new money in time for Brexit he said Britain would go alone in taxing the online giants - with Amazon, Google and Facebook all likely to be caught by the measure.
Philip Hammond smacked online giants like Amazon (file) with a new digital tax today in a bid to make sure tech giants pay a fair share of corporate taxes


Philip Hammond smacked online giants like Amazon (file) with a new digital tax today in a bid to make sure tech giants pay a fair share of corporate taxes
Mr Hammond insisted his new tax would not be levied on online purchases and that tech start ups would be protected.
It will only be levied on profitable firms making £500million a year in global sales - raising him £400million a year.
Mr Hammond said: 'The UK has been leading attempts to deliver international corporate tax reform for the digital age.
'A new global agreement is the best long-term solution. But progress is painfully slow. We cannot simply talk forever.
'So we will now introduce a UK Digital Services Tax.' Hammond ploughs an extra £1billion into Universal Credit to make the controversial reform work 
Philip Hammond today ploughed an extra £1billion into Universal Credit to make the controversial welfare reform work.
The Chancellor said he had listened to critics on his own side and was making sure existing welfare claimants would not lose out when they are moved onto the new benefit.
Mr Hammond also announced he would reverse cuts made by George Osborne when he was Chancellor to the work allowance part of the benefit - costing £1.7billion a year in 2023. 
Mr Hammond said: 'Today I can go further with a package of measures worth a £1billion over 5 years enabling the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to introduce additional protections as existing welfare claimants move onto Universal Credit and she will announce details when she introduces the Managed Migration Regulations later this year.
'Secondly, I have heard the concerns about the rates and allowances within the design of the system. In my first Autumn Statement I reduced the Universal Credit taper rate from 65% to 63%.
'And today I can tell the House I am increasing work allowances in Universal Credit by £1,000 per annum at a cost of £1.7bn annually once roll-out is complete benefitting 2.4 million working-families-with-children and people with disabilities by £630 per year.'
 Tax-free earnings to rise to £12,500 and 40 per cent bracket to £50,000 from next April
Mr Hammond boosted the tax-free allowances in the Budget
Mr Hammond boosted the tax-free allowances in the Budget
Britain’s workers got a shot in the arm in today’s Budget, as the Chancellor said he would cut income tax by raising thresholds a year early.
From next April people will be able earn £12,500 a year tax-free and will not pay 40 per cent tax until they earn more than £50,000.
Those earning £12,500 will save £130 a year compared to their current income tax bill thanks to the rise in the personal allowance.
A far bigger saving will arrive for those earning £50,000, who will keep an extra £860 compared to their current income tax bill. 
The announcement pulls forward the Tories’ manifesto pledge to raise the thresholds from 2020 and the Government says it will cut taxes for 32million people.
In the build-up to the Budget it had been rumoured that Chancellor Philip Hammond would row back on the promise and freeze the rise in the tax thresholds in order to fund extra spending on the NHS.
Yet, in a final announcement in his Budget statement he pulled a rabbit from the hat and said that he would instead deliver the tax cut early – at the start of the next tax year in April 2019.
Mr Hammond said: ‘My idea of ending austerity does not involve increasing people’s tax bills’. 
Fuel duty is frozen AGAIN for the ninth year in a row meaning motorists will save £1.20 every time they fill up - meaning drivers have saved 1,000 since 2010

Motorists will save around £1.20 on every tank by the cancellation of the latest 2p a litre on petrol and diesel (file image)
Fuel duty will be frozen again for the ninth year in a row, Chancellor Philip Hammond confirmed in his Budget today.
The policy was announced by Theresa May at the Tory conference in Birmingham earlier this month, tightening further Mr Hammond's room for manoeuvre. 
Motorists will save around £1.20 on every tank by the cancellation of the latest 2p a litre on petrol and diesel.
Announcing the new move today, Mr Hammond said motorists had now saved £1,000 since 2010. 
There had been speculation the near decade long freeze could be axed as it has cost the Treasury billions in revenue planned under a fuel duty 'escalator' designed under Gordon Brown to help the environment.    
Mr Hammond has previously hinted at continuing the freeze but warned the policy would cost the Treasury £38bn over the next three years, which he admitted was 'twice as much as we spend on all NHS nurses and doctors each year'.
However, the freeze has been seen as an iconic symbol of blue-collar Conservatism since its introduction by George Osborne in 2010.
The Chancellor must keep Tory rebels onside through the difficult process of winning parliamentary support for the Chequers Brexit deal - as well as for potential tax rises he has also suggested he needs to make to fund the NHS. 
New digital shopping tax will boost the high street but shops MUST adapt to the internet age, Hammond says 
High streets will be boosted by a new fund today as online shops face higher taxes, the Chancellor will announce 

High streets will be boosted by a new fund today as online shops face higher taxes, the Chancellor will announce 
Britain's love for online shopping means high streets will need to become smaller with fewer stores and more bars and restaurants, Philip Hammond will confirm today.
In today's Budget, the Chancellor set out a timetable for bringing in a digital tax so internet giants pay their fair share.
He also announced a £650million Future High Streets Fund that will help town centres adapt, as well as a £900million business rates cut for independent retailers.
But Mr Hammond – who admitted being an Amazon shopper – told Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday yesterday: 'The British have taken to online shopping like no other nation on earth. Our high streets have to change.
'We've got to help the high street to evolve and the high street of the future will have fewer retail outlets and more leisure destinations, more food and drink outlets.
'I expect the high streets of the future will be smaller with more of the areas around them redeveloped as housing.'
Philip Hammond unveils a special 50p Brexit coin available from when Britain leaves the EU on March 29th
Philip Hammond has unveiled a commemorative Brexit 50p coin to mark Britain's departure from the EU. 
The coin will be available from March 29, 2019 at 11pm - the day the UK leaves the EU - and is expected to carry the words 'Friendship With All Nations'.
The Brexit coin will be available from March 29, 2019 at 11pm - the day the UK leaves the EU - and is expected to carry the words 'Friendship With All Nations'


The Brexit coin will be available from March 29, 2019 at 11pm - the day the UK leaves the EU - and is expected to carry the words 'Friendship With All Nations'
The coin has to be personally signed off by the Queen, as it will bear her head, and is reportedly a bid to win over pro-Brexit MPs who have accused the Chancellor of being pessimistic over Brexit.
In 2016, the Royal Mint produced one-off coins featuring the much-loved Beatrix Potter character Peter Rabbit which sold on eBay for more than £20.
Every school will have a mental health specialist to help pupils struggling with depression and eating disorders, Philip Hammond will announce
Schools will also get new dedicated teams to support pupils with mild and moderate mental health problems, the Chancellor will announce today

Schools will also get new dedicated teams to support pupils with mild and moderate mental health problems, the Chancellor will announce today
Every school in Britain will get a mental health support worker to help pupils suffering from depression, self-harm and eating disorders, Philip Hammond revealed today.
The Chancellor announced in the Budget that at least one tenth of the £20 billion-a-year extra funding promised for the NHS will go to improving mental health services.
He will say the £2 billion-plus annual boost will help deliver a commitment to give patients suffering from mental health conditions the same level of care as those with physical ailments.
The extra cash will help pay for the provision of round-the-clock 'comprehensive' mental health support in every major accident and emergency department, ensuring anyone experiencing a crisis can get rapid specialist help. Officials say it will be backed up with more mental health ambulances and the establishment of dedicated mental health teams in schools, linking them to other support services. 
More people will also be able to access mental health services at community drop-in centres so they do not need to go to A&E. The NHS will increase the number of 'crisis cafes', which offer out-of-hours support in the evenings and at weekends.
Specialist crisis teams for children and younger people will be established across the country to build links between schools, social services and young people's mental health services.
Schools will also get new dedicated teams to support pupils with mild and moderate mental health problems

1 comment:

  1. The large print giveth and the small print taketh.
    Next they will tell you that they can saftely dilute water
    to lower your bills, Over time of course.
    The best place for the Queens head is not on a coin, it should be on a ?

    ReplyDelete