Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Autumn Budget and Spending Review is nearly upon us, due to take place from the dispatch box in Parliament on 27 October.
If the reports and rumours we’ve heard and seen are true, it’ll be a sombre affair, as Sunak rattles off with tax hikes, gloomy forecasts and maybe even budget cuts.
But that doesn’t mean it has to be a sombre affair for you watching from home, the office, or wherever else you may be as we hear the Government’s economic plan.
At least the chamber will be a bit more alive than the sad state of affairs we saw in March.
And, if you follow along with our bingo card below, ticking off everything you hear Sunak say, the Budget might even be a fun experience for you.
You could even turn it into a drinking game, although we don’t think your liver would like that at all.
What will be in the Autumn Budget 2021?
In typical Tory fashion, we can expect the Autumn Budget to be built around a “COVID recovery” and reduction of the Government debt, which currently stands at around 100% of GDP.
We’ll no doubt hear from Sunak that his Party is one of “fiscal responsibility”, as he set out in his Conservative conference speech earlier this month. What that is likely to mean is tax hikes and, as the Institute for Fiscal Studies suggested, potentially lower spending than planned before the pandemic.
Notably, rumours circulate around a rise to council tax, and an alignment between income tax and capital gains tax to raise funds for spending.
Controversially, an increase in income tax is in the air, a rumour that Sunak himself failed to dispel in a recent BBC Breakfast interview after ducking the question: “Are you going to have to commit to increasing income tax before the next election?”
An income tax hike would be yet another broken pledge from the Tory 2019 manifesto after the abandonment of the pension triple-lock and 1.25% increase to National Insurance contributions we recently saw, so it’s unlikely compared to some other potential changes.
An extension to the recovery loan scheme past its 31 December 2021 end date is also on the table, so businesses can continue on their road to recovery with support.
Meanwhile, a cut to the 5% VAT rate on household energy bills could be coming – a cut the Government won’t want to make right now, as it could leave a £1.5 billion hole in public finances, but might have to to help individuals cope this winter.
Interestingly for you Budget bingoers, because the UK wasn’t allowed to reduce VAT rates below 5% while in the EU, prepare for talk of the long-awaited “Brexit dividend” if an energy bill VAT cut does appear.
If you hear this phrase in the middle of your drinking game, congratulations, you get to take an extra shot.
Get ahead and talk with us about what might come up in the Budget so you can adequately prepare. You can download your bingo card here —> Budget Bingo Card – Autumn 2021 Edition