Budget Summary 2022/23

An age of optimism?

Throughout the pandemic, the government has been paying out unprecedented amounts of support to employers, businesses, and self-employed people to protect the economy from collapsing, at the same time as incurring all the costs of supporting the health system through its greatest crisis. We have been waiting for the bill to arrive – the tax increases that will pay for it all. We might have expected the Chancellor to arrive at the despatch box in a sombre mood.

Instead, he spent most of his speech spreading more money to every corner of the United Kingdom. He spoke of billions here, millions there, freezing duty on fuel and alcohol, cutting business rates for small businesses, supporting families, building houses. Although he started by saying ‘we have challenging months ahead’, he moved rapidly on to what he called ‘an economy fit for a new age of optimism’.

So, where has he hidden the bad news? In truth, most of it had already been announced. The freezing of tax allowances and bands was a substantial tax-raising measure in the March Budget. The Prime Minister described the new Health and Social Care Levy in September: extra National Insurance and dividend taxation are expected to raise £17 billion each year. Adjustments to uprating pension benefits will raise another £5 billion a year. These are very large amounts – most other announcements are measured in millions.

When the Chancellor sits down, the Government publishes everything on the internet – proposals he hasn’t mentioned; the detail of things he only touched on; and the tables of financial estimates that show what is significant and what is marginal. This booklet summarises the most important points and explains how they affect businesses and individuals. We will be happy to discuss the proposals with you and help you understand the implications for your finances.

Significant points