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Sun-ny Side Up?

By Sam Gray

Yesterday marked not the first, but the second budget delivered by Chancellor Rishi Sunak this year and it certainly wasn't the first time that we heard some of the content! 

But what were the highlights and will there be more losers than winners coming out of it (spoiler alert there are definitely more losers)

  • National Living Wage is increasing (happy days) from £8.91 to £9.50. However, thanks to the cost of living rising at its fastest rate for 30 years, it will be useless. Once you have taken into account higher national insurance and inflation you will be no better off. Not only this but with rising domestic gas and electricity bills as well as food bills you will still feel a major strain on your pocket. 
  • Universal Credit Taper rate to be slashed by 8% and work allowance set to rise by £500. If like me, you are not sure what this means, basically if you are working and receiving Universal Credit you will be better off. Previously the Taper rate put people off working more hours as for every pound earned above the work allowance 63p would be automatically deducted from your benefit payment. With that now dropping to 55p and work allowance rising around 2m people could be £1,000 better off a year (a win in my eyes). However, another 2m people will see no benefit because they either do not work or do not earn enough to qualify - this means people looking for work currently will continue to struggle. 
  • Fuel Duty Frozen - Motorists were dealt a lifeline as a planned increase in fuel duty, was scrapped. Sunak has ditched the 2.84p hike in fuel duty that was due to come in which would have added £1.57 to the price of filling up the average car. However, don't be blindsided by this as petrol prices have reached a record high of £1.42 this week - good news that they won't be going up even higher but the prices are still astronomical. 
  • Overhaul on Alcohol Duty - THE BEST NEWS to come from the budget for me and many people working in hospitality. The price of a pint is set to come down as the Chancellor revealed he would be cutting duty on English Beer & Wine. Sunak has described it as "the most radical simplification of alcohol duties for 140 years". This change would mean a permanent cut to the cost of a pint by 3p. But before we get too excited, the change isn't due to come into play until February 2023. This is a welcome change for the struggling hospitality sector - where at the beginning of the year we saw 1,000 pubs close. 
  • 50% Discount Business Rate - to go with the brilliant news above businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will be given a 50% discounted business rate. With the above sector hardest hit by the Covid pandemic, this is welcome news. It could mean eligible companies will be able to claim a discount on their bills of 50% up to £110,000.

As well as the above the government will continue to supply free school meals for millions of kids across the country (thanks to the brilliant work done by Marcus Rashford) as well as announcing an end to the pay freeze for 2.6m public sector workers. 

Most of the budget announcements may seem like a Win for people (and for some struggling areas it is) - but please don't be fooled - with the rising cost of living - is it really a win? Or are well all losers in some way? Do take a read of the full budget and make your own mind up.

The cost of living could rise at its fastest rate for 30 years, the government's forecaster has warned. Its latest forecast says inflation, which measures the change in the cost of living over time, is set to jump from 3.1% to an average of 4% in 2022.

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