In response to the Chancellor’s 2020 Budget, Peter Legge, Tax Partner at leading business advisory firm Grant Thornton in Belfast, said:

“As the first in recent times to be delivered by a government with a relatively strong majority, it was perhaps no surprise that Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget was filled with give-aways.

“Coupled with the Bank of England’s move to cut interest rates to 0.25 per cent, it is clear the government and policy makers are attempting to stimulate the economy in the face of challenges brought by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Peter Legge

“For observers in Northern Ireland, there will have been disappointment that the Chancellor did not make any commitments to reduce or abolish Air Passenger Duty (APD) particularly in light of the collapse of regional carrier Flybe.

“However, many of the benefits designed to help businesses cope with Coronavirus will be widely welcomed, including a refund of costs for Statutory Sick Pay related to employees off work for up to 14 days due to the virus, and a temporary ‘business interruption loan scheme’ offering support of up to £1.2 million.

“Other key points from the Budget included a rise of the National Insurance contribution threshold from £8,632 to £9,500 while the widely speculated restriction of Entrepreneurs’ Relief will fund a variety of increased tax incentives such as the R&D Expenditure Credit (‘RDEC’) from 12 to 13% and the Structures and Buildings Allowance from 2% to 3%.”