Budget Summary 2023/24

Hunt for growth

Jeremy Hunt opened his first full Budget speech by declaring that it was a ‘budget for growth’. He emphasised that this would be ‘long term, sustainable, healthy growth’; after all, Kwasi Kwarteng’s ill-fated September speech at the same despatch box was titled ‘the Growth Plan’. The Office for Budget Responsibility reported that there is unlikely to be any growth in 2023, but the UK is likely at least to avoid a recession.

After the turmoil of four Chancellors of the Exchequer and three fiscal statements in 2022, it was to be expected that Mr Hunt would try to avoid too many surprises. As usual, there was plenty of speculation about what he might do – some people hoped that better than expected tax revenues would encourage him to be generous. In the event, the great majority of the tax announcements had been made in advance, and most of the speech concentrated on spending plans.

Even so, there were some striking headlines on tax: the abolition of the limit on tax favoured pension savings and the introduction of unlimited 100% deductions against profits for company investment in new plant were more generous than most predictions. There were measures to encourage ‘economically inactive’ people back into the workforce, ranging from increasing the provision of free childcare to the introduction of ‘returnerships’ – apprenticeships for people over 50.

The announcement of significant tax changes several times a year, to apply from different dates, makes it hard to keep track of what is changing, when the changes will apply, and how they affect your finances. In this document we have set out the latest proposals and their impact, but also included some significant measures from other earlier announcements as a reminder of their importance. If you would like to discuss what it all means for you, we will be happy to help.

Significant points