Flexible Sunday trading hours, a compulsory living wage and a cut in corporation tax were announced in the 2015 budget, delivered today.
Speaking at the House of Commons, chancellor George Osborne said it was a budget that puts “security first and recognises the hard-working British people”.
- A national living wage has been introduced, which will be set at £7.20 from next April and will increase to £9 by 2020. The chancellor said it will only have a “fractional” effect on jobs and will cost businesses 1% of corporate profits. This will be offset by a cut in corporate taxes.
- Corporation tax will be cut from 20% to 19% in 2017 and again to 18% in 2020, giving businesses “the room to grow and invest with confidence”. It gives the message “loud and clear” that Britain is open for business.
- Local councils and mayors will have control over setting Sunday trading hours.
- Annual investment allowance for small and medium sized businesses will be doubled to £200,000 per year to enable more investment.
- Osborne confirmed that an apprenticeship levy will be introduced for large firms. The voucher will put employers in control of the government funding for the training apprentices need. The new scheme will be developed and tested with employers and providers immediately and fully implemented from 2017.
- The government said it is in talks with Liverpool, West Yorkshire and Leeds to add them to the ‘northern powerhouse’ made up of 10 councils in greater Manchester. It will invest in infrastructure, housing, science and innovation. This includes committing £13bn of investment to transport in the north of England, helping to connect cities.
- The personal tax allowance will increase to £11,000 from April. This is worth £900 to a typical taxpayer. The higher tax level threshold will be increased to £43,000 – both of which will take 29 million people out of income tax or to a lower tax.