Although the Budget was relatively low-key, other changes were already planned. This adds up to a significant financial impact on millions of people – even before the next Budget in November. Here’s how it could affect you.
Self-employed taxes to rise
The main National Insurance contribution rate paid by the self-employed will rise in the next few years. It will increase from its current level of 9% to 10% in April 2018, and then to 11% in April 2019 for those making a profit of more than £8,060.
The level for employees for these Class 4 contributions is 12%.
The chancellor said that this would raise £145m a year by 2021-22. On its own, the change announced in the Budget will leave 2.84 million people facing an average annual increase of £240.
As previously announced, Class 2 payments – which have a lower threshold of £5,965 or more in profits a year – will be abolished.
Taken together, only the self-employed with profits over £16,250 will have to pay more as a result of these changes – at an average cost of 60p a week to those affected.
The chancellor said this brought more fairness between the self-employed and employees.
But the move was criticised by the body that represents the self-employed.
“The chancellor should not forget that growth in self-employment has driven our labour market in recent years and punitive rises in tax will make many people have second thoughts about striking out on their own,” said Chris Bryce, chief executive of IPSE.
Director shareholders will see a tax break reduced on the dividends they receive.
The tax-free dividend allowance – which was only introduced last year – will be reduced from £5,000 to £2,000 from April 2018.
That will also affect people with large portfolios of shares.
Experts say that with an Isa allowance of £20,000 available to use from April, many investors will not need to worry.
Help for savers
A new government-backed savings product was promised in November’s Autumn Statement – but we did not have date or a rate.
Now the chancellor has said the Investment Guaranteed Growth Bonds will be offered by National Savings and Investments from April, paying interest of 2.2%.
The chancellor described this as a market-leading rate, which it is – but it is only the equal of the best-buy three-year bond on the market now. Critics have already labelled the product as a “sideshow” and “underwhelming”.
The bond will be open to those aged 16 and over, subject to a minimum investment limit of £100 and a maximum investment limit of £3,000. Savers must lock in their money for three years.
Official forecasts estimate that the cost of living will rise at 2% or above for the next three years.
Concerns have been raised that many people are falling into a subscription trap, by signing up for a paid-for service without meaning to – for example, when a paid subscription starts automatically after a free trial has ended.
Citizens Advice estimates that two million consumers each year have problems cancelling subscriptions on, for example, TV subscriptions.
Those with mental health problems are often vulnerable to these issues.
The chancellor confirmed that new measures will be considered in a Green Paper in the summer.
Louise Woodward (Chartered MCIPD)
Louise is an experienced specialist accounting & finance recruitment professional with over 30 years’ experience specialising in the sector during which time she has gained an esteemed reputation as one of the region’s leading recruiters evidenced by her long list of loyal and happy clients. Louise is also Group Secretary …