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Autumn Budget 2021: Predictions and how to follow breaking news

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Days before Rishi Sunak unveils his Autumn Budget, PracticeWeb's James Martini predicts what we can realistically expect on Wednesday and explains how firms can make the most of the announcement. 

25th Oct 2021
Tax Editor PracticeWeb
In association with
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Here we are once again. The second Budget speech of the calendar year as Chancellor Rishi Sunak attempts to start filling a £300bn hole in the UK’s public finances, thanks largely due to the emergency support measures provided during Covid-19. 

It’s hard to believe that before all that kicked off in March 2020, the current  government had only secured a huge majority in parliament less than four months before. Any plans to “build back better” were put aside as the crisis unfolded. 

While on the campaign trail in December 2019, the government-elect vowed “not to raise the rates on income tax, VAT or national insurance”. They’ve broken one of those pledges already following the devastating financial impact of the pandemic – could they be about to break others?

If they stick to their guns, Sunak’s hands appear to be largely tied, especially when you consider the stealth tax grab announced last spring when the Chancellor froze several key thresholds, exemptions and allowances up to and including the 2025/26 tax year.  

That will pull more people into the scope of paying tax over time. But for now, the question is just how much room for manoeuvre does the Chancellor have and what might we realistically expect?

Announcements to expect

As announced on Monday, Sunak is set to hit employers with a whopping increase in the national living wage. The over-23s’ rate will rise next April from £8.91 an hour to £9.50 - an increase of 6.6%.  

It will drag more workers into auto-enrolment (a good thing) and will increase employers’ costs at the same time (a bad thing). So, what’s in it for businesses? The minimum wage rate for younger workers under 23 is also set to go up to £9.18 an hour. 

Surely we can also expect a long-overdue report into business rates reform in England to be finally published, more than 18 months after it was originally due to drop, although another delay wouldn’t surprise me. Calls for reform are at their zenith, particularly after the CPI’s rate of inflation for September 2021 – which determines the business rates increase in England each year – hit 3.1%. Many bricks-and-mortar firms will feel the brunt of that if Sunak fails to address it. 

Neither of these address the elephant in the room, however, in terms of increasing tax receipts, and changes to capital gains tax look a short price. Could the Chancellor align capital gains tax rates with income tax rates? It would risk the wrath of business leaders, many of whom have been well and truly on the ropes in the last 20 months. Accusations of strangling the economic recovery would inevitably follow such a decision. 

And one outside bet I’ve been pondering is whether Sunak will opt to bring the self-employed NICs rates in line with employee rates. It’s been mooted in the past and, following the 1.25% NICs increase to fund the development of the health-and-social-care levy from April 2023, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility. 

Making the most of the speech

The Budget is a golden opportunity for accountants to communicate with existing and new clients, whether that’s via their website, email newsletters, social media platforms, or even a YouTube channel. If it’s content on something that might affect them or their finances, they will sit up and take notice. 

Even though self assessment season is in full swing, the Budget is the best chance accountants have all year to put themselves out there as real experts of their sector. An effective communications strategy genuinely comes into its own with that. 

Getting the conversation going on LinkedIn is a free and easy way to air your thoughts to all and sundry in the lead-up to the Budget, especially if you have built up an existing network of peers, current clients and potential prospects to engage with. 

Writing blogs, or having blogs written, for publication on your firm’s website is an efficient way to drive organic traffic to your site and ultimately generate new leads. Sharing these pieces of content on your practice’s Facebook and Twitter profiles can also help that content get seen. 

Can you see a theme emerging here? Rather than using content to shout about the services you offer, you would be focusing on demonstrating your expertise instead – and you’ll be doing it for free. Even if you pick up one new lead in the run-up to the Budget, it will be worth it. 

And should you want to spend a small amount of money to get branded content out on the Budget. My team works with three partners from two accountancy firms to produce a tangible Budget report. This consists of two branded PDFs, an unbranded Word doc, and a two-minute video to help our clients get content to their clients and prospects. Get in touch to discuss how we can provide content on Autumn Budget 2021 for your accountancy practice. 

Replies (16)

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By memyself-eye
25th Oct 2021 17:46

most of it has already been announced!
I'm looking forward to my Lloyds bank shares bouncing (in an upward direction) when the bank levy is reduced to 3%
Don't pay NI's anymore so don't care about those. No longer turn the boiler on or drive the car, or eat much, can't travel abroad, christmas will be cheap (no presents in the shops) and can't get a date for my booster jab!

Other than that, looking forward to the bodge-it.

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Replying to memyself-eye:
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By AndrewV12
26th Oct 2021 10:50

I have been WAITING 10 YEARS FOR MY Lloyds bank SHARES TO bounce UPWARDS, I FEAR IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN, MIND YOU THERE IS TALK OF interest RATES GOING UPWARDS.

(Keyboard capitals function gone mad)

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By memyself-eye
26th Oct 2021 11:12

Ahh - if you had bought this spring (loik wot I did) you would have seen them move north in a satisfactory manner.

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By AndrewV12
27th Oct 2021 10:24

Yes I see they were below 30p, well done, though I did receive some shares instead of a dividend, so its not all Bad for me.

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paddle steamer
By DJKL
26th Oct 2021 12:32

10 years, that's nothing, we have been waiting over 30 years for Nationwide to demutualise and give us a payout, each year the deposit in our qualifying account drips circa 12p interest onto the circa £600 balance.

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By AndrewV12
27th Oct 2021 10:22

I think after the Nationwide BS members voted to remain as a mutual, it may have been worth jumping ship.
Also factor in, after most banks (including virtually all Building society's that switched to Banks) got in trouble before and during the credit crisis, that was it, game over.

On the upside please tell me Lloyds Bank shares will reach £1, then I will bail out and cash in.

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Replying to DJKL:
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By AndrewV12
27th Oct 2021 10:25

Okay maybe 80p a share ???

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By AndrewV12
27th Oct 2021 10:26

70p ?????

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paddle steamer
By DJKL
27th Oct 2021 15:17

Write to Alistair about getting your money back, if Chancellors were regulated by financial service regulation then he likely would have been in a spot of bother.

My rule with buying shares is if I cannot understand the accounts I do not buy, I certainly cannot understand the accounts of banks (nor insurers)

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By AdamMurphy
25th Oct 2021 19:30

This Government has so many deliberate leaks with everything, it's ridiculous. We will know it all by tomorrow evening.

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paddle steamer
By DJKL
26th Oct 2021 09:40

Do we expect anything exciting? No
Innovative, perhaps? Certainly not

This will be a bland budget, the bland leading the bland, not an original thought on the horizon. For instance nobody in government will even think of introducing a Covid Lottery where only double vaxed individuals are in the free draw to win £1m each week (that might have encouraged the vaccination rates in the right direction)

At least tomorrow Iwill probably be able to have a snooze. (Unless of course he does go a bit radical re CGT in which case I will be sourcing the barrels of gunpowder for next month)

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By Hugo Fair
26th Oct 2021 12:36

Ah, innovation ... which can allow a govt to cajole the proles into doing what is wanted, instead of relying on the force of mandation/penalties.

A friend has just moved to Portugal where, if I've understood him correctly, they've recently introduced a system whereby anyone buying anything can elect (I believe only at the point of sale) to have the sale data pumped directly into a govt database ... and in return points are added, to that taxpayer's account, which can be converted to cash at year-end. The uptake on transactions is extremely high!

They also have a step (just before confirming all the data) within the online tax return, where the taxpayer can opt to donate 0.05% of the tax to a charity that they nominate from a list of approved organisations. Innovation can be both simple and effective.

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By mkowl
26th Oct 2021 10:05

Is there any point listening given there is nothing left to announce !

Well probably the throwaway comments about tax increases that get little speech time, that the 126 press notices thereafter give the devil in the detail and we work out the true cost to our clients

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By Mr J Andrews
26th Oct 2021 10:24

The most guarded secret is of course MTD - as far as Joe Public is concerned. Sunak is holding out on the #### hitting the fan with this one.

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By North East Accountant
26th Oct 2021 10:24

I predict yet more complexity.......nailed on certainty.

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By AndrewV12
26th Oct 2021 10:25

Don't bother making any predictions 90 % of it was leaked weeks ago.

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