What to look for in #Budget2018 – story for the Herald

THE CHANCELLOR rejected Halloween and Bonfire Night as dates for his Budget, but will Monday’s unusually timed speech bring any scares or fireworks for our personal finances?

The latest figures on public finances are said to be giving Philip Hammond more wiggle room in balancing the Government’s promises. But a radical tax-cutting Budget to pave the way for Brexit, as proposed in some quarters, is unlikely to appeal to the Chancellor or square with the Government’s promise of £20 billion for the NHS and no uplifts in fuel duty or national insurance.

Richard Stone, chief executive at The Share Centre, said: “After holding tightly onto the purse strings for some years, the demands to relax that grip a little and spend a bit more are reaching a crescendo that the Chancellor cannot ignore. This will leave little room for manoeuvre on the tax side of the equation.”

There could even be a temporary retreat on the pledge to raise the personal allowance to £12,500 and the higher-rate tax threshold to £50,000 by 2020, according to Adrian Lowcock at investment shop Willis Owen. “Given spending promises, a U-turn on this shouldn’t be completely ruled out,” he said.

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