Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered the Budget in Parliament this afternoon, introducing a raft of changes. Top of the agenda was the coronavirus outbreak, as hte Chancellor also pledged a £30 billion package to stimulate the economy to protect jobs and livelihoods against the coronavirus crisis.
Mr Sunak said his Budget’s measures to cope with COVID-19 “will make the UK one of the best placed economies in the world to manage the potential impact of the virus”, Downing Street said before his speech today.
The Chancellor acknowledged the British people were worried about the threat posed by the virus “but they are not daunted”.
Among the other changes announced were an end to the tampon tax, the National Insurance threshold was increased and he pledged a £3,000 cash grant to businesses eligible for small business rates relief.
He said: “I know how worried people are. Worried about their health, the health of their loved ones, their jobs, their income, their businesses, their financial security.
“And I know they get even more worried when they turn on their TVs and hear talk of markets collapsing and recessions coming. People want to know what’s happening, and what can be done to fix it.
“What everyone needs to know is that we are doing everything we can to keep this country, and our people, healthy and financially secure.”
Pensions annual allowance taper
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the tapered allowance threshold for pensions tax relief will increase to £200,000.
This means individuals with income below this level will not be affected by the tapered annual allowance.
The annual allowance will only begin to taper down for individuals who also have an adjusted income of more than £240,000.
Svenja Keller, head of wealth planning at Killik & Co, said “The change to pension rules for doctors – with more clarity and support for their Annual Allowance conundrum – is great news and, at long last, should be a significant boost to frontline healthcare.
“That said, by trying to help NHS doctors the increase in allowance threshold is now applicable to everyone. Why not just abolish it? This would have brought far more simplicity and the threshold is now so high that it will take many out of the tapering regime regardless.”
Reaction to the reform was largely positive as people took to social media to prise the move.
One person tweeted: “Excellent raising of threshold for the higher income taper on #pensions tax relief. Benefitting not only doctors but all hard working higher earners, and helping the continued existence of legacy DB pension schemes. Big contrast with previous “pensions raid” rumours.”
Another wrote: “Pensions tax relief changes will be welcomed by the NHS and doctors.”
Jamie Jenkins, head of global savings policy at Standard Life, said: “Understandably, this is not a normal Budget announcement, given the continuing spread of the Coronavirus.
“However, the Chancellor has set out some changes to deal with the challenges created by the pensions annual allowance taper, raising the threshold income to £200,000.
“This should alleviate the issue that was affecting medical professionals at this critical time.”
Tim Middleton, Director of Policy & External Affairs at the Pensions Management Institute added: “The revised tapered annual allowance is a welcome announcement but it will now affect so few members of Defined Benefit schemes, we would question the wisdom of keeping it at all. We remain disappointed that the Government has ignored some of the pressing problems around pensions tax relief.
“In its 2019 manifesto, the Conservative Party made a commitment to resolving the net pay anomaly and how it affects low earners who are members of trust-based Defined Contribution schemes.
“Solving this would have improved pension saving for those who can afford the least.”
However, the Budget today is likely to anger the WASPI women, with no reforms announced in their favour.
One supporter tweeted: “Boris tells us there is no money to repay the money stolen from 1950s WASPI women, but amazingly there is money to cancel business taxes to help businesses big and small. So there is money then?”
Another said: “With so much money being splashed why did Sunak not pay the WASPI women what they are owed? It’s peanuts compared to some of this spending. Shame on him.”
A third added: “Well Rishi, you could have chucked in a mere £57 million for the #WaspiWomen out of your £30 billion budget.”
— to www.express.co.uk