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Watson Buckle wonders what a future Budget may hold

Chancellor takes immediate steps to support jobs and economy but Watson Buckle wonders what a future Budget may hold.

Accountancy firm Watson Buckle has said that the majority of businesses will welcome the Chancellor’s latest measures to protect and create jobs as the country attempts to fight back against COVID-19.

The Coronavirus pandemic has left many businesses in disarray as they attempt to come to terms with an economy that is 25 per cent smaller than it was a few months prior.

Watson Buckle, based in Bradford, said that existing Government support had done a lot to help businesses but, as the Chancellor’s speech alluded to, they couldn’t go on forever.

John Kinsella, Tax Director at Watson Buckle, said:

“Businesses have been preparing for an end to the Government’s packages of support, so many will welcome the new measures announced by Rishi Sunak.”

Among the changes included in the Chancellor’s speech was the creation of a Job Retention Bonus. This new measure will offer a one-off payment of £1,000 for each previously furloughed employee that employers retain and keep in employment until January, as long as they are paid at least £520 a month.

The Chancellor also introduced the Kickstart Scheme, which offers to cover 100 per cent of the wage costs for 16-24-year-olds at risk of long-term unemployment that are enrolled on work placements for six months.

“The Government has promised to ‘protect, support and create jobs’ and these latest measures will certainly go some way to doing this for some employers. Businesses must be able to retain and attract new workers so that they can scale back up as the situation improves.”

John was also encouraged by a temporary cut in VAT for accommodation, attractions, food and non-alcoholic drinks.

This will take effect from 15 July 2020 to 12 January 2021 and reduce VAT to just five per cent on these supplies to support businesses and jobs in the hospitality sector, which has been badly affected by Coronavirus.

“The hospitality sector wasn’t the only industry to benefit from the Chancellor’s measures,” explained John,

“An immediate temporary increase to the Nil Rate Band of Residential Stamp Duty Land Tax, in England and Northern Ireland, from £125,000 to £500,000 will mean that nine out of 10 people getting on or moving up the property ladder won’t pay stamp duty.”

A Green Homes Grant to improve energy efficiency in homes would also boost prospects for the construction and property sectors, said John, following months of slowdown and uncertainty.

In total, the Government anticipates that it will spend an additional £30 billion on its latest measures, which has left John wondering how the country will recover the costs.

“During his speech, the Chancellor made it very clear that he would be introducing more measures later in the year during a Budget and Spending Review in the autumn,” said John.

“This will be a critical time for businesses and individuals as the Government will likely have to recoup some of its spending by cutting public services or amending the tax system. Taxpayers should carefully monitor what the Government’s intentions are so that they are prepared to take any necessary actions.”

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