There was an awful lot of build up to the second Budget by Chancellor Philip Hammond, and we watched it with interest. But while in the end it wasn’t full of dramatic giveaways, some measures introduced were good news for workers.
So, what was the good news?
Raising the Personal Allowance to £11,850 in April 2018 and the higher-rate tax threshold to £46,350 will allow people to keep more of their money. At the same time the National Living Wage will rise in April 2018 by 4.4%, from £7.50 an hour to £7.83.
Both these measures will particularly help people on lower incomes. We’re proud that at 24-7 Staffing we pay all our staff and temps at least the National Living Wage, including those who are under the age of 25 and don’t automatically qualify.
Scrapping the planned fuel duty rise for petrol and diesel cars scheduled for April 2018 is to be welcomed. As we work in the transport sector this is important for our clients and our drivers. And we are relieved that the tax measures being taken against diesel cars will apply only to cars as the Chancellor has left commercial vehicles alone.
The pledge to have a further 600,000 in employment by 2022 is positive. But, as a recruiter, we know that there is a mismatch between the skills needed to fill the many, many vacancies that are available and the level of skills that many job-seekers have. Upskilling the nation’s workforce should be a priority. That said, we’re pleased to hear that the apprenticeship levy is proving successful, and that the government is pledging £20 million to help colleges prepare for the new T-levels.
Removal of stamp duty for first time buyers and investment in housing are good for the country and the economy. And finally, the toll on the Second Severn Crossing is definitely going to be scrapped which is good news for those travelling into and out of Wales.
What about IR35?
We were surprised that more wasn’t made of this in the Budget. IR35 refers to the tax legislation designed to combat tax avoidance by workers supplying their services to clients via an intermediary, like a limited company, but who would be an employee if the intermediary was not used. In other words, disguised employees.
At 24-7 Staffing, we firmly believe IR35, which currently applies to the public sector, should apply across the board to ensure we have an equitable employment system for all and are proud that 100% of our candidates are employed through PAYE.
But there will at least be a consultation in 2018 on how to tackle non-compliance with IR35 in the private sector. Let’s hope it leads to an ethical level playing field for us all.