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The Budget 2017

The Spring Statement 2019

Eversheds Sutherland comments on the Chancellor's Spring Statement and what it will mean in practice

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, presented his Spring Statement to Parliament on Wednesday 13 March 2019.

This will be the Chancellor’s last major speech before Brexit (in the event that the UK leaves the EU as currently scheduled on 29 March). As expected he largely responded to the new financial predictions from the OBR and projected GDP growth and borrowing for the UK government in future years.

While the Spring Statement itself was light on major tax changes, the Chancellor did focus on a need to fix the broken housing market, with an announcement of a guarantee of up to £3bn on borrowing by housing associations to support delivery of about 30,000, new affordable homes. He also flagged a further potential £26bn "deal dividend" dependent on an organised Brexit.

The accompanying ministerial statement referred to previous tax papers and consultations, and announced relateddraft legislation and guidelines:

Business Tax

  • Corporate Capital Loss Restriction – A consultation on a change announced at Autumn Budget 2018 to restrict, from 1 April 2020, the amount of carried-forward capital losses a company can offset to no more than 50% of the chargeable gains arising in a later accounting period
  • Digital Services Tax – A consultation on the detailed design and implementation of the Digital Services Tax that will take effect from 1 April 2020. Read our recent article
  • Offshore tax compliance strategy: No Safe Havens 2019 - A policy paper setting out the direction for HMRC’s updated strategy for offshore tax compliance
  • Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) approved funds guidelines – Draft guidelines for comment alongside draft legislation. The document will contain guidelines stating HMRC’s proposed policy and practice for approving funds

Real Estate

  • Structures and Buildings Allowance - Draft legislation was published today for comment. This follows the announcement (and immediate implementation) of this new capital allowances regime in the Autumn Budget. Read our previous article. The government invites comment by 24 April 2019 on the draft legislation. An overall response to consultation responses will be published in May 2019
  • Stamp Taxes on shares consideration rules – A consultation on aligning the consideration rules of Stamp Duty and Stamp Duty Reserve Tax, and introducing a general market value rule for transfers between connected persons

Employment

  • National Insurance Contributions (NICs) Employment Allowance - Draft regulations, as announced at Budget 2018, restricting the reform to businesses with an employer NICs bill below £100,000

VAT

  • VAT Partial Exemption and Capital Goods Scheme: Simplification – A call for evidence on potential simplification and improvement of the VAT Partial Exemption regime and the Capital Goods Scheme
  • Making Tax Digital (MTD) – Mandatory digital record keeping for VAT for businesses.  The government is confirming that a light touch approach to penalties in the first year of implementation will be adopted

Other non-tax announcements included:

  • A finding that the tech giants have become increasingly dominant - The government will respond later in the year to the review’s calls to update competition rules for the digital age, which should open the market up and increase choice and innovation for consumers
  • A reiteration of the government’s determination to fix the broken housing market - Publication of a consultation on Infrastructure Finance, seeking views on how the government can best support private infrastructure investment. With a view to increasing the availability of housing stock to UK residents, the government consulted earlier in the year on an SDLT surcharge for non-residents acquiring UK residential property. Read our previous article

Check back to view further commentary on this as the details unfold.

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