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Sajid Javid replaced as Chancellor less than a month before Budget

With less than a month before his first Budget, Sajid Javid has resigned as Chancellor of the Exchequer, making way for his replacement Rishi Sunak.

13th Feb 2020
Practice Editor AccountingWEB
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Official portrait of Rishi Sunak
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Sajid Javid still had four weeks to put the finishing touches to his Budget when he was called to Number 10 and asked to sack his team of advisers. Javid refused and instead resigned from his position as Chancellor in what has become a shock cabinet reshuffle.

Javid’s shock exit was the culmination of brewing tension between the former Chancellor and Number 10. It finally came to a head today when the Prime Minister demanded Javid replace his special advisers with Number 10 special advisers, but the former Chancellor responded: “no self-respecting minister would accept those terms.”

And with Javid handing over the keys to Number 11, he becomes the shortest-serving Chancellor since Iain Macleod – lasting just seven months.

According to Westminster rumours and political kite-flying, Javid had planned to use the Budget to axe, or at least scale back, entrepreneurs' relief and there had been calls for a radical overhaul of inheritance tax.

As soon as Javid departed Number 10, the pressure of delivering the first post-Brexit Budget now falls to his replacement: Rishi Sunak, the until recently chief secretary to the Treasury.

Meet the new Chancellor

With only a month to either cobble together Javid’s Budget or start from scratch, AccountingWEB readers will have a particular interest in the newly appointed chancellor. 

In 2015, Sunak was elected in William Hague’s old seat. A leave supporter in the 2016 referendum, Sunak has since become a rising star in the Conservative Party, as his prior appointment as the chief secretary to the Treasury demonstrated. 

While it’s too early to judge how he’ll fare, the MP for Richmond in Yorkshire does have form in following Javid's footsteps - and sharing a love of Star Wars (picture below). Like the former Chancellor, Sunak embarked on a career in the City. While Javid climbed the ranks with Deutsche Bank, Sunak found equal success as an analyst for Goldman Sachs and then as a hedge fund manager. 

Despite similarities, tax lecturer Giles Mooney noted the key difference: "Sajid Javid believes in lowering debt with fewer tax cuts... Rishi Sunak is far more likely to cut taxes and keep debt levels high. He is a huge supporter of the city... and has spoken about the benefits of encouraging business via a top-down trickle to benefit workers."

His role in the Treasury may help him get off the ground running, but whether Sunak continues with Javid’s plans to have another Budget later in the year remains to be seen.

Accountancy profession reacts

Eyes from the accountancy profession will be closely watching the new Chancellor. Sunak inherits a number of tricky financial conundrums such as the loan charge, Brexit and IR35 reforms. Unsurprisingly then, before Sunak even stepped foot into Number 11, IR35 campaigners have urged him to have a last-minute rethink.

“With IR35 reform rapidly approaching, it’s vital that Rishi Sunak succeeds where Sajid Javid failed,” commented Seb Maley, the CEO at Qdos. “We urge the new Chancellor to act immediately and halt the introduction of needless and short-sighted changes to the off-payroll working rules.”

AccountingWEB readers also joined the chorus. An Any Answers discussion was started shortly after the announcement with members considering the effect, if any, this will have on the off-payroll proposals and MTD.

With reports suggesting that Sunak was Dominic Cummings’ chosen chancellor, AccountingWEB regular Justin Bryant theorised what this could mean come the Budget: “This will make things like a wealth tax and scrapping entrepreneurs relief more likely (if not in this Budget, then another one) as he's desperate to cling on to his newfound mates up north by rebalancing the country's wealth with extra spending.”

However, Sunak’s appointment was greeted favourably elsewhere in the profession. The AAT’s Phil Hall praised Sunak’s recent work with the professional body on its proposal for a stamp duty surcharge on overseas investors.

The AAT had campaigned for an additional tax on overseas residential property investors for almost two years following its 2017 member survey, which indicated that 78% of its members support the imposition of an additional tax charge on overseas residential property investors.

There was also a reshuffle for Westminister’s representatives from the accounting profession. Chartered accountant and former Deloitte, Alok Sharma was drafted in as the secretary for state for business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS); meanwhile, former management accountant Liz Truss remains in her role as secretary for state for international trade.

Replies (25)

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Jennifer Adams
By Jennifer Adams
13th Feb 2020 17:51

With all this changing going on dare we hope that the new Chancellor will have such a lot on his plate, getting his feet under the table etc that he might not have time to implement MTD? Or am I just being naive/hopeful?

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Replying to Jennifer Adams:
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By AWeb72
14th Feb 2020 21:56

You would hope they would because if MTD had been announced while a Labour Government was in charge there would have been hell to play everywhere, including the press, about being against small business, meddling in just letting people run their businesses etc. etc. , yet when it started under a Tory government there was almost silence.

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By Justin Bryant
14th Feb 2020 13:42

The fact is that both BJ & the Treasury are on record as intensely disliking ER, so it now looks fairly doomed to me (plus we get the increased risk of wealth taxes per my above comment). See also this from the link below:

“The hon. Lady is absolutely right that it is important to crack down on promoters, and at the Budget we will bring forward a package about how to do that”

https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2020-02-11/debates/33B2C847-ECB7-4...

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Replying to SJH-ADVDIPMA:
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By Meltonmark
14th Feb 2020 12:13

Spot-on comment. The only disagreement I might have is that the government isn't 'doing nothing'. It is, and has been since the 1970's, actively promoting and funding the gender war. It does so not out of any concerns for equality, but to follow the Georgia Guidestones, and what we now refer to as Agenda 2030. Note how so many government 'initiatives' are targetted at or around this date.

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Replying to Meltonmark:
Lone Wolf
By Lone_Wolf
14th Feb 2020 14:54

I love a good old conspiracy theory.

So, you thinking the corona virus is the plan to take us down to the magic 500m population? The far east is a decent place to start given how many people inhabit that area.

On a slightly related matter, what brand of tin foil do you suggest for my hat?

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Replying to SJH-ADVDIPMA:
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By sculptureofman
14th Feb 2020 12:21

Won't somebody think of the white, middle class man!

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Replying to sculptureofman:
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By SJH-ADVDIPMA
14th Feb 2020 22:34

Im black and originally from a council estate in leicester.

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Replying to SJH-ADVDIPMA:
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By Justin Bryant
14th Feb 2020 13:33

Even assuming you're right*, aren't there far more pressing economic problems, like how to avoid (further) global warming etc. (without wanting to generalise, those on the right wing tend not to get that problem**)?

* e.g. here's an (arguable) example: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lincolnshire-51501202

** https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-51500692

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Replying to Justin Bryant:
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By SJH-ADVDIPMA
14th Feb 2020 19:51

Hi, one of the founders of green peace, believes in the counter argument that more c02 is needed to prevent plant death, that isnt to say that warming is denied, but that its a lot more complicated than one gas, and not necessarily all to do with human beings. Being in finance no doubt you would know how much pressure there is for your pronouncements to remain inviolate, so once a lot of people have put their credibility on the line, its very hard to change course. I believe in 5 to 10 years there will be an apology saying sorry folks its a bit more complicated than humans have emitted too much co2.

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Replying to SJH-ADVDIPMA:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
14th Feb 2020 16:47

@SJH, really?

This stuff only happens in the Daily Mail and Borisgraph and some of the really niche websites frequented by bigots and racists playing the victim card as they are confused by the modern world.

Much of the country (the younger half, and a big bunch of oldies too) is a multicultural, gender and sexuality blind society, and much better for it.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By SJH-ADVDIPMA
15th Feb 2020 06:42

Hi there, what stuff do you mean?

Im serious about the effect of woke ideology on our economy, relative to economies that do not ascribe to identity politics, for example the Chinese (who laugh at us, business wise).

Taking gender pay gap for example. The business credo of maximising shareholder value is at odds with the fundamentally socialist policy of arbitary wage equality / pay scales (gender pay gap).

Legally in England you cannot pay a woman less than a man, or vice versa just because of gender. E. G. Set a contractual woman rate and a man rate. Women and men are equal and have been in western individualist societies in the eyes of the law for a long time preceding the recent identity politics phenomena.

So in the UK under new woke ideology emanating from graduates where grievance studies have taken hold in their university , there are now pressures on business to ensure pay between sexes are equal, regardless of the multi variates that led to the imbalance. E. G. laws and personnel controls, that very simply compare average pay between male and female. So costs will increase, profits will reduce, but women will be paid more. So the socialists have their win... In the short term.

When compared to competing economies, who do not force their businesses to report on gender pay gaps, or otherwise provide incentives for business to artificially alter their pay levels, they will have an advantage.

My best example (at least i think so) is,

I run a department of 20 payables clerks. 10 are female, 10 are male, i advertise the job at a starting rate of £20k p.a. And i ask for pay confidentiality in employment contracts.

Due to biogical differences (which the woke ideology denies biological differences exist) men are more likely to ask for a pay rise than women (this is supported by much academic research) , i. e. Men are less agreeable at the extremes than women. So over time if i want to keep some good workers who threaten to leave, i would have to agree to a reasonable increase, always constrained by the wider market, but i would not previously(pre wokism) have had to raise the whole department of 20 staff. Under woke ideology, i either say no to the request for raise, reducing profits or lift all, reducing profits.

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By johnjenkins
14th Feb 2020 12:28

Boris has said that he intends to get rid of the civil servants who think "little empire building" will protect them. Gordon Brown started all this mess let's just hope Rishi has the guts to go with the new regime. One thing that does bug me though is how Dominic Cummings has constantly been seen by some as the "overlord". Boris is strong enough to make his own mind up and as the months roll by HIS "vision" will become obvious.

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Replying to johnjenkins:
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By Ian McTernan CTA
15th Feb 2020 13:44

The left have been desperately trying to portray Cummings as the one in charge- it's all part of their narrative.

Boris believes in empowerment- so he will let people get on with things once he points out the direction of travel.

Cummings is getting to grips with the inertia of the civil service and wants to streamline it, starting with not moving civil servants around every six/twelve months so we might finally have people in post in a few years who have real experience of their department and can get things done- and take the blame for things that go wrong rather than blaming predecessor/minister/anyone but themselves.

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Chris M
By mr. mischief
14th Feb 2020 18:35

Overall, we now have the least experienced, least competent Cabinet in the last 40 years. At precisely the moment when we most need wise, experienced, competent heads. Groan!

This Budget date was already stupidly close to the start of the tax year, given that it is widely expected to be extremely wide-ranging and cover a lot of areas - such as IR35 - with great potential for unworkable tax laws rushed through in haste. I can't see how any qualified accountant can be happy that we have a "nodding donkey" in number 11 just implementing any old drivel Number 10 dreams up, such as bridges from Northern Ireland to Scotland. The one thing worse than lots of silly infighting between 10 and 11 is "yes sir yes sir 3 bags full sir!" every day from number 11.

Given the sacking of the one notably competent Northern Ireland minister we've had in the last 10 years, the message is to spinelessly arselick and competence is irrelevant. His crime appears to have been to say that a border down the Irish Sea is bad for the province, which was a statement of the bleedin' obvious. So my probability that Brexit will succeed - 30% in 2016, 20% last week - is now reduced to 15%.

The "Government to heal the wounds and bring party and country together" lasted all of 2 months. Groan!

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Replying to mr. mischief:
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By Ian McTernan CTA
15th Feb 2020 13:41

Sounds fairly typical of a doom laden left wing remainer's attitude.

The idea is to have one consistent policy coming from advisers and being implemented rather than the devisive set up we have had in th3e past with two sets of advisers competing and going off in different directions. It's designed to streamline the process of Government.

For too long there has been way too much power wielded by civil servants blocking the Govt of the day from getting things done- time for a change.

If you think Brexit will be such a disaster, move to that EU utopia across the pond..with 0% growth, huge QE, high unemployment in the south, etc. What's their excuse?

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Chris M
By mr. mischief
15th Feb 2020 16:22

Per the Leave campaign:

1. We would have signed 70 trade deals by March 2019. Actual deals signed by January 2020 were 20, including Faroe Islands and Kossovo which won't butter many parsnips.

2. £350m extra spend per week on NHS. Actual spend zero.

3. No friction within the United Kingdom. The reality is a 557 page document in order to trade across the Irish Sea.

4. No risk to the United Kingdom. In reality an increasing number of the 1,000 or so Brexiteers I follow on Twitter - including many MPs and MEPs - don't care if Scotland becomes independent or Ireland reunites so long as we get Brexit done.

Politically in my view I am the ultimate floating voter, having voted for 6 different parties in my life. But if you want to pigeonhole me as some kind of leftie due to your own prejudices that is up to you.

In Brexit terms I came close to voting Leave - 30% close - and was more of a Brexiteer in 2019 than most of the ERG because I thought there was nothing much wrong with the May deal, certainly better than the 557 page Irish Sea document we now have. I have never been a supporter of manic "Borrow and Spend" Governments - I should think this goes for most accountants - so the sacking of Javid in my view heralds some pretty irresponsible spending plans of the sort which the Conservative party ususally derides (often quite rightly) when in Opposition.

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Replying to mr. mischief:
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By johnjenkins
17th Feb 2020 09:11

Javid wasn't sacked. He new Boris wanted to get rid of the civil servants holding his plans up. When Boris told him to do his job he bottled it, just like DC did after the referendum. At least now we have a PM who is not frightened to take on whatever is necessary to take us into the next century.

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By AndrewV12
17th Feb 2020 11:47

Exract above
'Javid’s shock exit was the culmination of brewing tension between the former Chancellor and Number 10. It finally came to a head today when the Prime Minister demanded Javid replace his special advisers with Number 10 special advisers'

This is nothing between the tension between Gordon Brown and his chief spin doctor Charlie Weelan and Tony Blair and his main man Allister Campbell, each one of them very volatile characters.

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Chris M
By mr. mischief
17th Feb 2020 13:01

Any Chancellor with anything about him who would accept those terms is the sort of spineless sycophant who should be nowhere hear one of the top offices of State. If I were the new guy, I would immediately set about appointing my own folk and dare Stalin to sack me.

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Replying to mr. mischief:
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By johnjenkins
17th Feb 2020 14:13

You seem to forget, the only reason he kept his job was because he agreed to go with the Boris way. Boris made it quite clear heads in the civil service would roll. Unfortunately your "appoint you own folk" attitude creates the "little empire builders" that stifle movement.

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Chris M
By mr. mischief
17th Feb 2020 15:00

I follow around 100 Brexiteers on Twitter. I would say they are split 50-50 between:

1. Those who think sacking competent Northern Irish secretaries and forcing Chancellors to resign before they have made their first Budget is not going to help the country, so are having their doubts as to whether Bozo Jo is the right guy.

2. Those who still think he's the right guy despite his track record of lies and what he's done last week.

So this is a divisive move even within his own tribe.

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Replying to mr. mischief:
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
17th Feb 2020 15:14

I had the misfortune to glance at a Broisgraph at the weekend and even his own personal propaganda wing seems to be a little cool on this.

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Replying to mr. mischief:
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By johnjenkins
17th Feb 2020 15:15

There was a big smear campaign against Boris saying how much a liar he was before the general election. Look what happened. He is the right guy. He has the right ideas and he will get the right team behind him. You either go with him or get left behind and sulk.

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Chris M
By mr. mischief
17th Feb 2020 22:07

Javid is suddenly looking even wiser. Sabisky, one of these new advisors with repugnant views, has just resigned less than 24 hours after being appointed. This is the honeymoon period for Johnson, God help us all when he enters the marriage break-up phase!

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Replying to mr. mischief:
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By johnjenkins
18th Feb 2020 09:09

When you are changing policies and the entourage that goes with it, there are bound to be bumps on the way. A carte blanche, come all, come hither approach is bound to bring all sorts, including some good stuff.
Even JC realised that politics in the world is changing. The two tier "capitalist and communism" is really on its way out. So what's the answer?????????? There isn't one but it's going to be fun on the journey to find one.

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