The Spring Statement: what it means for you – Richard Lishman – money4dentistsFeatured Products Promotional Features
Posted by: The Probe 14th March 2019
Despite all the Brexit confusion and political turmoil following Theresa May’s second failed attempt to unite parliament behind her Brexit withdrawal deal, Mr Hammond resolutely delivered his Spring Statement. However, as those who will have seen the announcement will know, this was very much a reserved delivery of forecasted figures – likely because the uncertainty of Brexit is now reaching critical status as we approach the deadline for leaving the EU with no concrete plan in place.
Regardless, amongst all the ambiguity there were certain nuggets of information that may impact dentists going forward…
The state of our economy
Perhaps the first thing to look at is the projected state of our economy as a whole. Mr Hammond was not shy in suggesting that a smooth exit from the EU would be instrumental to our economy’s well being, especially as it is thought that a hard exit would wreak havoc on our economy and likely eradicate any progress made on public funds.
An unprecedented increase in tax collected has meant that government borrowing is lower than expected (£22.8bn) – significantly undercutting the prediction made by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) that we would need to borrow £25.5bn. Despite this, the OBR has still projected that economic growth will be at the lowest rate it has been since 2009 at just 1.2%, a considerable cut from the 1.6% prediction that was laid out last October.
However, this is projected to recover over the following years, rising to 1.4% in 2020 and 1.6% in the years after that. Hammond described the economy as “remarkably robust” and indicated that as many as 600,000 new jobs would be created by 2023.
A proposed look at the National Minimum Wage was announced, and this could lead to sustainable pay rises for millions of workers in the UK. As it is, the minimum wage is set to increase to £8.21 per hour in April, and this might go some way to rejuvenating dentistry, as patients will have more money at their disposal.
People tend to equate dental care as a luxury (unless they are experiencing tooth ache or a visible problem) and therefore will usually put making an appointment on the back burner if they do not have the necessary funds. As such, even though the increase is small, a boost to the minimum wage could help a number of people feel more secure in their finances.
When it comes to significant tax changes revealed in the Spring Statement there is little to report. However, the extension to Making Tax Digital (MTD) has been deferred until 2020, and a light touch approach to penalties has been confirmed for this first year.
Home and work
A number of major cities will also be getting a boost in spending, and this is good news for people who regularly commute or work in these areas. Cities such as Leicester, Portsmouth and Norwich will all be receiving a share of the £60m proposed budget, and this will go towards improving bus stations, introducing cycle lanes and making other developments.
Mr Hammond also announced that a new affordable housing guarantee scheme is in the works. This £3bn scheme will aid the delivery of 30,000 new affordable homes across the country – good news for dentists looking to enter the property market, especially those entering their first placement at a practice.
There will also be an injection of £717m into the housing infrastructure fund – helping to unlock 37,000 new homes located in popular areas such as London, Cambridge and Didcot. This will open up new opportunities for dental professionals looking for housing in these areas.
Immigration controls have also been subject to change, and now PhD level researchers will be exempt from the Tier 2 cap. Alongside this, rules on 180-day absences will be changed so that those performing fieldwork overseas will not be penalised should they choose to settle in the UK. This could help encourage a boom in numbers within dentistry, as it may encourage those learning to enter the field to settle down in the UK afterwards.
Going forward, it’s likely that some of the things set out by the Spring Statement may change, especially in the case of a hard Brexit. Hammond vowed an end to Austerity in the Autumn Budget, but this no longer seems achievable in the foreseeable future until we know how the next few months are going to unfold.
As such, it’s always a good idea for professionals to have an Independent Financial Adviser, such as those from money4dentists, at their side. Our team will help you navigate any changes that Brexit will bring, helping to ensure you can stay focused ensuring that care for your patients comes first.
For more information please call 0845 345 5060 or 0754DENTIST.
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