Budget 2017: What do we know so far?

The Chancellor is finalising the contents of his Red Box, with housing and NHS funding key concerns.

Philip Hammond will unveil his Budget on Wednesday and, as usual, there have been briefings, rumours and ministerial wrangling ahead of the Chancellor's set-piece occasion.

So, what plans are expected to be within Mr Hammond's Red Box later this week?

An inquiry into so-called "land-banking" by developers is also expected to lead a list of measures to try and boost Britain's housing supply, along with an attempt to reinvigorate small and medium-sized builders.

However, Mr Hammond has warned there is "no single magic bullet" and cautioned against "pouring money" into housebuilding.

This suggests the Treasury has resisted pleas by Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid to borrow a reported £50bn to fund a major new Government housing programme.

The Chancellor has also indicated he won't ease protections on greenbelt land, although he has been coy on rumours stamp duty for first-time buyers could be cut in order to help young people onto the housing ladder.

The Chancellor has pointed to the Government's existing commitment to meet previous NHS demands for £10bn extra by 2020, while he suggested "Armageddon" will not arrive if more cash isn't handed over.

And nurses are expected to be Budget Day beneficiaries with the Chancellor reportedly ready to announce new funds to boost their pay.

The Royal College of Nursing is demanding an inflation-busting hike of 3.9% and has warned it must not be funded out of existing NHS budgets.

Firms are currently liable to charge VAT once their annual turnover reaches £85,000, but the Office for Tax Simplification has recommended reviewing the threshold.

Lowering it to £20,000 would bring it in line with the EU average and raise extra funds for the Treasury, but could prove politically unpopular as it would impact self-employed builders, decorators and B&B owners.


November 20, 2017

Sources:` Sky News

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