Even if Rishi Sunak’s first ‘Get it done’ Budget was dominated by Coronavirus, it was still a surprise that the Chancellor had so little to say on tax. And he certainly said nothing directly for the recruitment sector.
So, as we were expecting, it’s full steam ahead from 6 April for the private sector IR35 changes, with only a few changes to “support its smooth and successful implementation”.
The one major tax change he did announce, the reduction of the capital gains tax Entrepreneurs’ Relief lifetime limit from £10 million to £1 million, was exactly in line with our own pre-Budget predictions.
But it was the dreaded Covid-19 that took centre stage with £7 billion of the £12 billion earmarked by the Chancellor directed at businesses and workers through enhancements to statutory sick pay, including refunds for any businesses with fewer than 250 staff for the cost they incur providing Statutory Sick Pay to any employee off work due to coronavirus, for up to 14 days.
Also on the Chancellor’s list is a ‘scaling-up’ of the time to pay regime for businesses to allow them to agree a deferral of their tax liabilities, which could be crucial if the virus bites into business cashflows to the extent that some fear it may.
Elsewhere, as promised in the Conservative’s manifesto, the increase in the National Insurance contribution threshold to £9,500 will give 31 million employees around an extra £100 a year and for business the Employment Allowance is increasing to £4,000.
Overall, though, very slim pickings and little to indicate what we might expect from this Chancellor in his next Budget which is promised for the Autumn, when he is sure to be hoping he has emerged from the cloud of Coronavirus and can get down to business as usual.