Fiscal Phil's mish-mash means a botched budget

Today the Chancellor suggested his budget would help ordinary Britons, but with a Google Tax, a hidden hit on capital losses, and bad economics in a business rate cut, Philip Hammond looks out of touch with how the many millions on these islands live our lives.

Matt Kilcoyne from free market think tank the Adam Smith Institute said that what the Chancellor gave with one hand, he took with the other:

“Quintupling the investment allowance from £200k to £1m will mean businesses invest in equipment and machinery, it’s a promise to kickstart the British economy’s makers and doers. But if Mrs May and Mr Hammond want to see American levels of GDP and wage growth then they should move to have all investment be deducted from profits before tax.”

“What the Chancellor gave with one hand though, he took with the other as he hit firms large and small that make capital losses by restricting their exemptions—meaning less risk taking, less profit and fewer economic dividends.”

“It was a similar story in personal allowances. While the taxman will let us keep more of what we earn from April next year, the Treasury won’t link this with inflation for another two, so millions more will be dragged into higher brackets. The Chancellor’s penny pinching in the here and now will hit us all in the pocket later.”

The Adam Smith Institute’s Daniel Pryor, rebuked the Chancellor’s decision to bring in a digital revenue tax:

“A digital revenue tax—lifted straight from the Corbynite playbook—will punish the millions of people who shop online and use online services every day. The Chancellor should embrace tech firms that find innovative ways of giving consumers what they want at lower prices: not penalise them for having the temerity to scale-up or move beyond the traditional high street business model. He might not intend for the tax to be passed onto ordinary Brits, but economic facts don’t care about fiscal Phil’s feelings.”

Sophie Jarvis, from neoliberal think tank the Adam Smith Institute said the Chancellor’s cuts in business rates would mean a windfall for rent-seekers:

“The Chancellor thinks that businesses are like babies: he likes them when they’re small and cute, but rapidly loses interest and affection as they grow up (particularly if they’re tech focused). Hammond’s small business rates cut of ⅓ is good politics but bad economics. Cuts to business rates will lead mostly to a windfall for landlords rather than small business owners as they’re able to charge more rent on the properties these businesses use.

“The £675m future high street fund to help transform high streets back into places people live, work and socialise is welcome. In particular we welcome the policy transform unused commercial property to residential.”

If you would like further comment, or to arrange an interview, please contact Matt Kilcoyne via phone (07584778207, 02072224995) or email (matt@adamsmith.org)