What the Spring Budget really means for your wallet

From tax cuts to child benefit changes, here's how the chancellor's latest fiscal update could affect your finances

Woman holding wallet
(Image credit: Joos Mind / Getty Images)

There was plenty in Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's Spring Budget this week to woo voters ahead of an expected general election later this year, but what difference will it actually make to your finances?

Hunt's latest fiscal update was labelled a "Budget for long-term growth" by the Government. And it included several key policies focused on growing the economy after it entered a recession at the end of last year.

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Workers

Employee National Insurance (NI) contributions will be cut by 2p from 10% to 8% in April, having already fallen from 12% to 10% in January. So the average worker earning £35,400 a year will be more than £900 better off this year, according to the Treasury.

Additionally, the chancellor announced a further 2p cut to Class 4 NI for the self-employed to 6%, after it was reduced to 8% in the Autumn Statement. The Treasury said this would save the average worker £650 compared with last year.

These cuts will "boost take-home pay", said This Is Money, but it won't help those above state pension age as they typically don't pay NI.

Additionally, income tax thresholds have been frozen until at least 2028, the BBC highlighted, so "any kind of pay rise could drag you into a higher tax bracket, or will see a greater proportion of your income taxed than would otherwise be expected".

The Institute for Fiscal Studies estimated that the combination of the NI cuts and threshold freezes since 2021 mean only those on £26,000 to £60,000 a year are really better off.

Investors

Hunt has unveiled plans to boost investment in UK stocks with the launch of a new British ISA. It provides a "dedicated tax-free individual savings account (Isa) allowance" of £5,000 to back UK shares, said Investors’ Chronicle, to "entice investors to allocate more to UK stocks". This is on top of the existing £20,000 annual ISA allowance and will be consulted on.

However, the British ISA has received a mixed reception. The product "seems a good way to think about UK equity opportunities", said Ollie Smith on the Morningstar website, but it is already possible to back these types of stocks in the tax wrapper and many other types of ISA already exist so "further iterations of exactly the same thing amount to nothing more than tinkering".

Some savers may have preferred an overall increase to the annual ISA allowance, said MoneyWeek, and a separate product could "add to the complexity" and "result in a lower take up".

Parents

Hunt "finally bowed to pressure", said The Guardian, on the high-income child benefit charge (HICBC). 

Currently, if one parent in a family earns above £50,000 per year, they have to pay 1% of the amount back. This created "unfairness", said MoneySavingExpert, where a couple earning £49,000 each could get the full benefit but a family where one person or a single parent earning £60,000 or over would see the money clawed back.

Instead, the chancellor said the HICBC will be "administered on a household rather than an individual basis by April 2026" and in the meantime the threshold will rise to £60,000 from April and the level at which it needs to be fully repaid will increase to £80,000. This could mean 485,000 families gain an average of £1,260, the Treasury said.

Landlords

The chancellor also unveiled plans to make it "easier for local people to find a home in their community" with a clampdown on holiday lets.

He said he would raise £245 million per year by scrapping the furnished holiday lettings regime from April 2025, which previously let landlords claim full mortgage interest relief and pay lower capital gains tax when they sell.

The move will save the Treasury money and "ease the housing crisis" in popular holiday destinations such as Cornwall and the Lake District, said the Mirror, where locals struggle to get on the property ladder.

Landlords aren't impressed, though. Writing in The Telegraph, the Secret Landlord said the move will risk tourism jobs and force property investors to sell, while "it's doubtful they'll be bought by local people". Instead, it means the government will "crucify anybody who owns a private property who intends to make any money from anything to do with it".

If more landlords do want to sell their properties, said MoneyWeek, Hunt has at least said he will cut the higher rate of capital gains tax on additional property sales from 28% to 24% in April.

Homebuyers

Despite "historical proof that a strong property market always boosts the economy", said Property Reporter, the chancellor failed to listen to calls for stamp duty reform and first-time buyer support.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has revised its outlook for the property market, though, and suggests it could “bounce back faster than expected”, said The Telegraph.

The OBR forecasts that falling interest rates mean house prices will drop by around 2% this year, "slightly under half of the 5 per cent we expected [in the Autumn Statement]", before rebounding by 2% in 2026.

It expects mortgage rates to peak at 4.2% by 2027, which could be a boost for borrowers. This is still higher than the typical 2% rate that many borrowers were on at the end of 2021 and "above the average mortgage interest rate in the 2010s of around 3 per cent".

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