What does the Spring Budget mean for Scotland? What are the key Budget changes? Who are the winners and losers?

We take a look at who the winners and losers are out of Jeremy Hunt’s Spring Budget

Jeremy Hunt’s Spring Budget has now been unveiling, including £300 million in Barnett consequentials for the Scottish Government.

The major headline to come out of Wednesday’s Budget is a 2p cut to National Insurance.

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The UK government is certainly pleased with the announcements – they say the Office for Budget Responsibility is now forecasting debt to fall to 94.3 per cent of GDP by 2028/29 and is forecasting the UK economy will grow by 1.9 per cent next year.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt. Image: Kirsty Wigglesworth/Getty Images.Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt. Image: Kirsty Wigglesworth/Getty Images.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt. Image: Kirsty Wigglesworth/Getty Images.

But what else was included in the Spring Budget? We take a look at who the winners and losers in Scotland are.

The winners

The worker

National Insurance will be reduced by 2p from April 6, which is expected to save the average employee £450.

Similarly, National Insurance for those who are self-employed will be reduced from 8 per cent to 6 per cent, saving these individuals an average of £350 a year.

The distiller

The freeze in alcohol duty, which was due to end in August, is being extended to February 2025.

In making this announcement, the Chancellor name-checked Scottish Conservative leader and Moray MP Douglas Ross for championing the Scottish whisky industry.

Mark Kent, chief executive of the Scottish Whisky Association, said: “That decision supports the Scotch whisky industry, will incentivise investment and, as with previous cuts and freezes, boost Treasury revenue.”

The high-earning parent

Currently if one parent earns more than £50,000, they are subject to charges on child benefits.

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This high salary threshold is to be increased to £60,000 from this April. Mr Hunt says the government will also consult on a new household-based system to end the unfairness of the high salary threshold on child benefit by April 2026.

The small business owner

The VAT registration threshold will be increased from £85,000 to £90,000 to help reduce the administrative and financial impact on small and medium-sized businesses. Mr Hunt says this will mean tens of thousands of businesses will come out of paying VAT.

Museum and gallery owners

Orchestras, museums and galleries are to get £1 billlion worth of additional tax reliefs over the next five years. This includes 45 per cent tax relief rates for touring productions, and 40 per cent for non-touring shows.

Independent films with a budget of up to £15m will also receive a 40 per cent tax relief.

The motorist

The 5p a litre fuel duty cut, introduced in March 2022, will be maintained for another 12 months, saving the average motorist £50 next year.

The government will also keep the duty freeze, which is now in its 14th year. Lisa Watson, director of sales at Close Brothers Motor Finance, said: “Whilst only likely to have a small positive impact, it’s a step in the right direction, particularly for the 53 per cent of drivers who cite fuel prices as the biggest challenge in the next 12 months.”

The property mogul

The higher rate of property capital gains tax for residential properties will be reduced from 28 per cent to 24 per cent.

Mr Hunt says this move will increase revenue as it will encourage more property transactions. However, as stamp duty does not apply to Scotland, those buying more than one property at a time won’t benefit from the stamp duty relief announced by the Chancellor.

The family in debt

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Loan repayment periods will be extended from 12 months to 24 months. It is expected this will help low-income families who are on Universal Credit and are being forced to take out loans to make ends meet.

The Nordic astronauts

Probably the furthest north the government’s money will go in this Budget - there will be extra funding for the SaxaVord spaceport on Unst in Shetland.

Frank Strang, chief executive of SaxaVord, said: “Their support today for both the new space economy and ourselves will help ensure the UK leads the way in European spaceflight.

“The global space industry is valued at $350 billion annually and rocket company Rocket Factory Augsburg’s launch at SaxaVord this summer will put the UK at the forefront of what is one of the world’s fastest growing sectors, bringing jobs, investment and opportunity.”

The East Coast town

It is good news for a handful of towns on the East Coast. Dundee is to get a share of £100m of levelling-up funding, and Peterhead and Arbroath are to each get £20m to invest in long-term expansion.

The losers

The oil and gas giant - and by extension, the Scottish Conservative leader

Windfall tax on record profits in the North Sea oil and gas industry are to be extended into 2029.

This is bad news for Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross. Over the weekend at party conference in Aberdeen, Mr Ross said extending the windfall tax would be an “unacceptable blow” to the industry.

He said he made this point to the Chancellor before the Budget statement, and has since branded the announcement “deeply disappointing”. Mr Ross has now said he will refuse to vote on the spending plans.

The non-dom

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Non-doms, or non-domiciled residents, are people who live in the UK, but are not classed as permanently settled here. They do not have to pay UK taxes on foreign income, allowing wealthy individuals such as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s wife Akshata Murty to live in the UK and make major savings.

UK Labour had pledged to scrap non-dom tax statuses if it won the general election later this year, but the Conservatives seem to have got here first.

The existing non-dom tax system is to be abolished and replaced with a residency-based system from April 2025. New arrivals to the UK will not be required to pay any tax on foreign incomes for the first four years, but after that will be subject to the same tax rates as other UK residents.

The Scottish finance secretary

Scotland is to receive £300m in Barnett consequentials on the back of the Spring Budget. But this has not been welcomed by Scottish finance secretary Shona Robison.

Ms Robison said: “When more support is desperately needed for public services and infrastructure, for greater cost-of-living measures, and for money to aid our efforts to reduce carbon emissions, Scotland has been badly let down by the UK government.

“Today’s statement provides not a single penny more for capital funding, and the Barnett consequentials from health that were signalled by the Chancellor are actually less than the in-year health consequentials of 2023/24 and less than what is needed to address the pressures we face.”

The holiday-let owner

There are special tax rules for rental income on properties that are classed as furnished holiday lets, but this is to be abolished. Mr Hunt says this is needed as there are not enough furnished properties available for long-term rent.

Fiona Campbell, CEO of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, said: “This is the last thing the beleaguered and hard-pressed Scottish self-catering sector needs at the present time.

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"In recent years, our sector has been hit by the Scottish Government’s onerous and burdensome short-term let licensing and planning regulations, so the UK chancellor’s budget announcement spells yet more dispiriting news for a crucial component part of the Scottish tourism industry.

"The association maintains that the UK Government would be much better placed easing the regulatory burden on log-term tenancies as opposed to penalising the holiday let sector.”

The smoker

In a bid to discourage non-smokers from taking up vaping, an excise duty on vapes will be introduced. Similarly there will also now be a one-off increase in tobacco duty to maintain the financial incentive to choose vaping over tobacco.

The pensioner

Charity Age UK says this Budget does nothing for anyone receiving the state age pension, as they do not pay National Insurance and will not benefit from the 2p cut.

Caroline Abrahams, the charity’s director, said: “[It will not] help tired people with modest pensions that take them over the tax threshold who will face an increase in income tax rise because personal allowances remain frozen.”

The charity also said the six-month extension to the household support fund announced was “not long enough” and would leave older people on low-fixed incomes “without recourse to extra help through the winter months”.

She added: “It may be that the government decided that this was all that was needed, but at Age UK, given all we hear from older people who are struggling, that’s not how we see it, and we suspect many members of our older population will feel likewise.”



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