All the key announcements in Jeremy Hunt's Spring Budget

Hunt announces tax cuts, child benefit reforms and extra levelling up cash
Photo: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo

By Caitlin Doherty

06 Mar 2024

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt delivered his Spring Budget to the House of Commons on Wednesday, with Conservative MPs clamouring for tax cuts in the lead up to the General Election.

A cut to National Insurance, a slew of tax reforms including scrapping the controversial "non-dom" status, extension of cost of living measures, tax relief for creative industries and long called-for reform of child benefit thresholds were among headline measures in Hunt's plans. 

Hunt said that improved economic projections from the Office for Budget Responsibility had enabled him to make the changes. 

But will it be enough to satisfy Conservative MPs keen for an attention-grabbing offer to sell to voters on the doorstep as the government approaches this year's election trailing in the polls?

Here are all the key announcements in Jeremy Hunt's Spring Budget: 

Tax cuts 

Employee National Insurance Contributions will be cut from 10% to 8% from this April, and self-employed national insurance will be cut from 8% to 6%. An initial cut was announced in last year’s Autumn Statement. Hunt described it as a change that grows the economy by “rewarding work”.

Hunt did not make any changes to income tax, as many Tories had hoped he might, but he did indicate that overall reforms to income tax and National Insurance could be on the cards in the near future, if economic conditions allow.  

Child benefit reform

From April, the threshold for the high income child benefit charge will be increased from £50,000 to £60,000, and the point at which it is withdrawn will be increased to £80,000. 

There will also be a consultation on moving to a system that judges income by household, rather than by individual, by April 2026. 

"Non-dom" tax status scrapped

Hunt said that "those with the broadest shoulders should pay their fair share" and pledged to replace the current non domiciled tax status with a “modern simpler and fairer residency based system”.

From April 2025, new arrivals into the UK will not have to pay tax on foreign income and gains for the first four years they are UK resident. 

But after four years, those who continue to live in the UK will have to pay the same tax as other UK residents, Hunt said. 

He said that the update would raise £2.7bn a year. 

Changes to loans for people on Universal Credit and debt relief 

Hunt said that he would take “further steps” to help with the cost of living, and announced changes to budgeting advance loans taken out by people on Universal Credit, increasing the repayment period from 12 months to 24 months.

He also abolished the £90 charge needed to ge a debt relief order, a system used to help find solutions for debts people cannot pay. 

A public sector productivity plan

Hunt said a new plan would change the Treasury’s “traditional” approach to public spending with a public sector productivity plan,, and announced that he would fund the NHS productivity plan “in full”, with investment that will go towards systems to help improve NHS efficiency. 

Funding will help use AI to cut down on form filling, will help improve the NHS app, will bring in a new app for staff, and mean electronic patient records are used in all hospitals.

There will also be changes in policing, with £230m for time and money saving technology to aid police responses, and £170m for changes in courts such as “non-court resolution” and digitising the court process. 

There will also be £165m over the next 4 years to increase capacity in children’s homes. 

Hunt said the announcements marked that from the next Spending Review, the Treasury will “do things differently”, prioritising plans that deliver annual savings within 5 years that are equal to the cost of the investment. 

Introduction of the British ISA

Hunt said that following a consultation, he would introduce a new British ISA, which will allow for an additional £5,000 of annual investment. Currently, ISAs allow savers to save £20,000 per year without paying tax on the interest or returns. 

More levelling up cash allocated

The chancellor allocated £100m of levelling up funding to go towards projects in areas including Coventry, Dundee and Redditch, and announced an expansion of the plan for towns to 20 new places, which will receive £20m each over the next 10 years. £5m will also be allocated to renovate village halls in England. 

Funding was also set aside to support the SaxaVord Spaceport in Shetland, an agri-food launchpad in Mid Wales and to support businesses in Northern Ireland, Hunt said. 

Devolution expansion

Hunt also announced a “trailblazer devolution deal” for the North East, where Conservative is mayor. He also announced plans to devolve powers in Buckinghamshire, Warwickshire and Surrey.  

VAT threshold for small businesses increased

Hunt announced that he will increase the VAT threshold from £85,000 to £90,000. Currently, businesses must register if their annual total taxable turnover is £85,000. 

He said that the change would “bring tens of thousands of businesses out of paying VAT altogether”. 

Alcohol and fuel duties both frozen

The freeze in alcohol duty has been extended to February 2025. The freeze was due to come to an end in August this year, after coming into effect in February this year. 

The freeze in fuel duty has been extended for another 12 months, for the fourteenth year in a row. Hunt said that by doing nothing, the tax would have increased by “13% this month”. 

New vape tax introduced

There will be an excise duty on vaping products from October 2026. There will also be an increase in tobacco duty, to maintain the financial incentive for people to choose vaping over smoking, Hunt said. 

Memorial for Muslim soldiers 

The chancellor opened his Budget by unveiling £1m to be put towards building a memorial to honour “Muslims who died in two world wars in the service of freedom and democracy”. 

“I have decided to allocate £1m towards the cost of building one. Whatever your faith or colour or class, this country will never forget the sacrifices made for our future,” Hunt said. 

Childcare expansion funding

Hunt pledged to guarantee the “rates that will be paid to childcare providers” for the next two years in order to support them in delivering the expansion of free childcare hours to younger children. 

Air passenger duty increased for non-economy flights

Air passenger duty will be increased for business and first class flights to account for high inflation, Hunt said. 

Windfall tax on oil and gas firms extended

The windfall tax on the profits of oil and gas firms has been extended for another year to 2029, which Hunt said would raise £1.5bn. 

Relief for film and culture businesses

The tax credit rate for visual effects has been increased by 5%, and the 80% cap for visual effects costs has been scrapped. 

Eligible film studios in England will get 4% relief on their gross business rates until 2034, and a new tax credit will be introduced for UK independent films with a budget of less than £15m. 

Tax relief at 45% for touring productions and 40% for non-touring productions has also been made permanent. 

There will also be £26m for the National Theatre to upgrade stages. 

Caitlin Doherty is a journalist for CSW's sister title PoltiicsHome, where this story first appeared

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