EY East tax partner comments on Autumn Budget 2017


Stuart Wilkinson, tax partner at EY in the East comments on the measures announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget and the impact for business and people across the region...

Investing in the East of the future

“In a budget where we anticipated a “steady as she goes” approach, there are a number of announcements that will be positive for business and people across the East.

“The £1.7bn Transforming Cities Fund will mean necessary spending on improving buses, trains and cycle lanes to drive growth and improve connectivity across the region. When you add in the £44bn investment for new housing and abolishment of stamp duty for first time buyers; there is plenty to be positive about.”

“The Chancellor continues to wrangle with very low unemployment rates and the (not unconnected) low productivity rates. Further investment to help boost productivity is welcome – but all businesses also have the challenge of embracing the technological revolution in a way that drives productivity and exploring how existing staff can be reskilled and redeployed effectively.

Chancellor saves his trump card for housing

“The Chancellor made his announcements on housing the grand finale of today’s Budget. A package of measures over the next five years totalling £44bn, ranging from assistance for local SME house builders to more support for the Build to Rent sector was positioned as giving effect to the Government’s pledge to fix our broken housing market. Time will tell if we’ve just seen the start of the end of our housing crisis or the continuation of announcements which fail to be translated into real action but we are optimistic that this feels like a real commitment. “

5G focus vital to UK’s digital future

“Further investment in 5G underlines its importance as a productivity driver that can unlock new services for consumers and business alike. Yet ongoing research, dialogue and collaboration across industries will be crucial, if it is to deliver on its long-term promise. Business models and use cases require careful consideration, but practical progress in spectrum release and network planning is just as vital if users are to reap the full benefits of 5G.

Investment in digital skills essential to keeping UK competitive

“The Government’s investment in both training computer science teachers and digital skills in general is very welcome at a time of rapid change both in the UK and across the globe. The extra funds are vital to building the right infrastructure, workforce and new technologies that can ensure the country remains competitive on the world stage. However, it is imperative that this investment is also made regionally, helping to rebalance the economy while building centres of excellence across the UK.”

Transforming Cities Fund to finally give metro-mayors power and means to do their jobs

“Metro mayors will finally have the powers and means to do their jobs. Today’s announcement will support their mission to drive economic growth and investment in local communities. Today’s announcement will also help reduce red tape which will expedite key decisions on housing and infrastructure – key to attracting businesses and talent.”

Driverless cars: Technology and tarmac to go hand in hand to put UK plc in the driving seat

“Today’s announcement will accelerate the development of driverless vehicles with huge untapped opportunities for businesses, consumers, insurers and those building the actual roads and highway infrastructure. This will need to go hand-in-hand with using technology to squeeze capacity out of the road network, through smart motorways, for example, which could potentially save some of the time and costs involved with building and operating new roads and highways.”

“What has the Budget ever done for us?” ask the under 30s

“With much talk before the Budget about plans to address intergenerational unfairness, those under 30 might be looking in the cupboard to find it not exactly bare, but not overflowing with goodies either. Rather than putting a pound in the pocket of the millennial by increasing tax allowances or cutting National Insurance Contributions, the Chancellor has chosen to give them an off-peak season ticket.”

Tax relief from beyond the grave

“The law currently allows individuals to transfer 10% of their personal allowance to their spouse or civil partner where the recipient is not a higher rate or additional rate taxpayer. Individuals are able to backdate claims for up to four years. Changes hidden in the Budget documents will allow an individual to make a claim for this back-dating even where their spouse or civil partner has died. Till death do us part no longer applies to taxes.”


EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. With over 400 employees in our Cambridge and Luton offices, our teams provide a range of services to a variety of sectors, including manufacturing, life sciences, consumer products and retail, technology, real estate and construction, health, and the public sector. The broad array of companies across the East allows us to bring real, relevant and key insights to our clients.