Summer Budget 2015—the lay of the land for commercial lawyers

Summer Budget 2015—the lay of the land for commercial lawyers

This afternoon's 'Summer Budget' saw the first 'full' Conservative budget since 1996: a year when only four per cent of the UK population had access to the Internet (which was, if memory serves me right, petrol-driven) and the average house price was £62,000 (nowadays, not even enough to be the average deposit on a London home).

How life has moved inexorably on...

So what should commercial lawyers take from today's 2015 Budget statement (Mark II)?

Here's a few things that stood out for us:

  • Sunday trading: the government will look to consult on devolving powers on Sunday trading to city mayors and local authorities. Accordingly, mayors or councils might be able to extend Sunday trading hours
  • Enterprise zones: the government will be holding a bidding round for a new programme of Enterprise Zones
  • 'Tax lock': the government states that it will legislate to set a ceiling for the main rates of income tax, the standard and reduced rates of VAT, and employer and employee (Class 1) NICs rates, ensuring that they cannot rise above their current (2015-16) levels. This does not mean, of course, that taxes will not rise elsewhere during the course of this Parliament (or reliefs abolished etc)
  • The hidden economy: the government wants to extend HMRC’s powers to acquire data from online intermediaries and electronic payment providers to find those business which are operating in the hidden economy. It is looking to legislate in the Finance Bill 2016 to achieve this, following a consultation on the detail
  • Corporation tax:  corporation tax will be reduced to 19% from 2017-18, and 18% from 2020-21
  • Annual Investment Allowance: this will be set at new permanent level of £200,000
  • Large businesses (tax avoidance): the government will legislate to 'improve transparency of tax strategies' and give HMRC new po

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