OpinionNov 26 2015

Chancellor wants more flesh off rich tails

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Well the rolling stone of Budgets certainly gathers no moss.

For the third time in 2015, with the usual pre-announcements, chancellor George Osborne was master of the sound bite.

Except this time in the Autumn Statement, he really enjoyed himself with quip, scorn, and even a little gloating.

If the old adage that only an intelligent man can change his mind is true, Mr Osborne’s increasingly cerebral rating may have just advanced himself closer to the Cameron throne.

So the big “if” in the next few days will be of course be, do the figures add up? We’ll have to see if the repeal of the tax credit cuts, really allow for other freezes and giveaways.

After setting the hare running in the election run up, attacking [former Labour leader Ed] Mr Miliband’s own use of Deed of Variation, Mr Osborne has decided not not restrict its use.

Maybe a missed opportunity not to tidy up the application of the main residence additional Nil Rate Band, but one measure of post death planning that advisers, solicitors and clients alike, will applaud its retention.

Mr Osborne has been clever introducing the apprenticeship levy, in a reducing corporation tax environment.

Even if ‘the richest pay more tax than the rest of society put together’, Osborne wants a few quid more.

Let us be clear, it is a tax upon business, but one that business, the wider economy and UK PLC will ultimately benefit from.

You’ll find few detractors on this point as the wage bill would need to be more than £3m a year to have an impact upon any business.

And, while the share prices of house builders already enjoyed the typical pre-leaks of a Budget Day, the drive to provide greater affordable housing in both the rented and for sale sector, Mr Osborne hopes the quid pro quo for a leg-up on the housing ladder will be a mark on the voting slip from builders.

Moreover, we have had pensions for grown-ups, and now it’s time for Isas to come into adolescence, with debt based crowdfunding becoming eligible.

Maybe next year, adulthood will be reached with further allowable inclusions.

The expansion to create 26 new Enterprise Zones (EZ) for business, is somewhat at odds with HMRCs stance on private investors who previously supported EZ and Business Premises Renovation Allowances (BPRA), yet are now caught up with HMRC not allowing these statutory reliefs.

So we’ll have 30 days to pay the CGT on our second homes that will cost us 3 per cent more, and we will have to file it all online. What next? A permanent pot hole fund? #forwearethebuilders

Even if ‘the richest pay more tax than the rest of society put together’, Osborne wants a few quid more, and has allocated £800m of that tax to find some more. The chancellor clearly feels that there is more flesh to eat on the richest’s tail.

Introducing the ‘one month abroad rule’ in restricting housing and pension credit, yields £80m of saving over the remaining Parliament.

Simon Blowey is divisional director, financial planning, for Brewin Dolphin