Does the Chancellor have any more rabbits to pull out of his Budget hat?

“We already know much of what is to come in the Autumn Budget this Wednesday, as for days the treasury has been releasing swathes of funding announcements,” says Newport-based Kymin Financial Planners Managing Director Robin Hall.

“There have already been big changes to taxes announced with the increase in national insurance contributions to provide more money for the NHS and potentially later for social care. Although many conservative MPs would like to see tax cuts, the chancellor announced on Sunday that you must look at what the Government has had to deal with for the last 18 months with “the biggest economic shock that we have experienced in 300 years.”

“So, it seems that even a small cut in business rates as many businesses had hoped has now been ruled out by the chancellor too, let alone cuts in taxes in other areas.

“He is expected to announce that the national minimum wage will rise from £8.91 per hour to £9.50 as well as looking at an increase in public sector pay.

“A £5.9bn has been announced for tackling the NHS backlogs in England as well as £2.1bn to modernise IT across the NHS.

“£6.9bn has been announced to implement a “local transport revolution to level up commutes and journey times” outside London, with the majority going on train and station upgrades with £1.2bn for bus services. However, Sunak later confirmed that only £1.5bn of this pot was new money. Air passenger duty is also likely to be overhauled to reflect the environmental damage caused by long-haul flights.

“There have also been announcements around borders and crime as well as for the arts and sports sectors as well as education.

“As usual around the budget there is much speculation as to whether there will be reforms to pensions. The pension industry has called on the Chancellor to stay away from radical reforms and instead to tweak the existing rules to help individuals to save more.

“Tax relief is one area of concern, with fears that any big changes could cause major disruption. Currently tax relief on pensions is paid at the saver’s marginal rate of income tax when saving and the pension is taxed at the point of withdrawal. The threat to changes to pensions tax relief such as a flat rate for all or even a cut to high earners relief has been mooted for years but tends to resurface each year in the days before the budget.

“In previous years there have been concerns that the government was looking to cut high earners relief to 20% or move to a 25% flat rate.

“Also, something else to keep an eye on is whether there will be any changes to further increase the normal minimum pension age going forward. Many in the industry say a further increase would complicate the pension system even more and should be paused. Currently you can access most private pensions from age 55, but this is being increased to age 57 from April 2028, reflecting the long-term increases in longevity and changing expectations of how long people will remain in work and then in retirement.

“The government has previously said it wants to reduce the earning limit for auto-enrolment pensions from the current £10,000 per year as well as cutting the age of eligibility from the age of 21, but nothing has happened up until now.

“With many plans already announced ahead of tomorrow’s actual announcement,, it will be interesting to see what the Chancellor has left up his sleeve, we will be watching the budget with eager eyes and will produce a report in the days following. “