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Budget 2016 – Expectations

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Chancellor George Osborne will deliver the 2016 Budget this afternoon.

Commenting ahead of the speech Rain Newton-Smith, director of economics at the Confederation of British Industry, said that the chancellor faces tough choices to continuing balancing public finances, while businesses will “want to see concrete action to reform the UK’s business rates system, support investment through the capital allowance system and equip our world-class innovators with the tools they need to compete globally.” 

Aside from expected further cuts to public spending, here are some measures that have got the commentators speculating:

Business taxes

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has warned that rises to auto-enrolment contributions as well as the introduction of the national living wage, apprenticeship levy and dividend taxes have significantly increased the burdens on businesses .

Dr Adam Marshall of the BCC, said:

“At a time when many businesses already face sharply higher costs and taxes, the chancellor must avoid adding any new obligations on our firms.”

Fuel duty

George Osborne is expected to announce a rise in fuel duty by 2p a litre. A survey by RAC found that 68% of motorists would be negatively impacted by the duty rise. 

Simon Williams, RAC spokesman, said: 

“The chancellor has an excellent record of freezing duty but by not referring to it in the autumn statement, he implied that the 57.95p currently charged on every litre will be subject to inflationary increases.”

Business rates

The Chancellor is set to report back on the structural review of businesses rates announced in the Autumn Statement. Mike Cherry, policy director for the Federation of Small Businesses, stated that the current system “is not fit for purpose, is unresponsive to economic circumstances, and is viewed as deeply unfair by the business community.” 

Funding support

The government will introduce financial support for workers on work-in benefits including a new Help to Save scheme, national mentoring campaign and increases in the national minimum wage. 

We will publish summaries of the Chancellor’s announcements after he has presented the Budget statement to the House of Commons.

A detailed guide to the Budget 2016 will be available on our website on the morning of Thursday 17 March.