The Chancellor Philip Hammond has delivered a somewhat surprise free budget with help promised to schools, the NHS, the High Street, mental health services and defence. There were also a few positives for first time buyers.
The introduction of stamp duty exemption for first time buyers has now been extended to those looking into shared ownership schemes. Thus the rule which means that anyone buying their first home worth up to £350,000 doesn’t pay stamp duty is now applicable to shared ownership schemes on properties worth up to £500,000. Moreover, the change has been backdated so anyone who has bought a home within the last year via a shared option scheme should get a rebate of stamp duty paid. It is the governments’ way of opening up the options available to those trying to get onto the property ladder for the first time.
The chancellor has also pledged more money into new housing projects, which again will benefit first time buyers in the future, by expanding the options available.
The National Living Wage will be going up to £8.21 per hour as of April 2019, a rise of 4.9% with personal tax allowance rises too. Personal tax allowances will rise to £12,500 as from April 2019 for basic rate tax payers and to £50,000 for higher rate tax payers.
There has also been an increase in the Junior ISA allowance which will benefit those under 18. It has increased in line with the Consumer Prices Index to £4368 for the 2019-2020 tax years. The adult one however has remained unchanged at £20,000.
Another helping hand for the younger generation was apparent in investments. The minimum investment limit on NS&I’s Premium Bonds is now just £25.00, as opposed to a £100 thus opening up the scheme to far more people. Extended family and friends are now able to buy bonds for children, as opposed to just parents or grandparents, which recognises
It wasn’t such great news for the wine lovers; whilst duty on cider, spirits and beer was frozen it wasn’t on wine. However fuel duty was for the 9th consecutive year.
Start-up loans funding for small businesses is to be extended to 2021, and for those smaller firms taking on apprentices there will be a 50% reduction of the apprenticeship levy from 10% to 5%.
There was also good news for the High Street with the government pledging £675 million to help them transform. The funding is to be used to create a Future High Streets Fund to help support those councils that are drawing up and submitting formal plans for regeneration of their high street.
Alongside pots set aside for defence, Brexit, the NHS, the High Street, schools and potholes, the Chancellor has set aside £1.7 billion to make Universal Credit more generous, which will hopefully help to streamline the system so that those in most need are receiving what they should.
Last but certainly not least, a new commemorative 50p coin is due to be released around spring time to mark the UK’s Brexit exit.