The Autumn 2017 Budget: All quiet on the Employee Benefits front

Philip Hammond, The Chancellor of the Exchequer, has just sat down after delivering the 2017 Autumn Budget Speech.

Owing to the continued uncertainties of the Brexit negotiations – plus of course the perceived vulnerability of the Government since the General Election in May – this Budget always promised to pose significant fiscal and political challenges for the Chancellor to manage. As a result, and unlike previous years, there was little in the way of pre-event briefings from The Chancellor. So speculation remained as to whether this was likely to be a brave, balanced or boring statement.

And from an Employee Benefits (EB) perspective it appears to have been the latter, with very little of relevance in Mr Hammond’s speech. This lack of movement represents a welcome respite for both employers and the benefits industry after several years of almost constant change.

Based on the speech alone, the following appears to be the key EB issues of immediate significance at this time:

  • Increases to both the National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) from April 2018: This will of course increase the cost of any benefits which are directly related to the salary of employees on NLW or NMW.
  • A further increase to the tax-free personal allowance: A move that is sure to be welcomed by employees, and will help with their day to day finance issues. This is obviously an area that should be included in all workplace Financial Education exercises.

The only other point of note from the speech was this comment;

“I can confirm today that we will clarify the law so that people who charge their electric vehicles at work will not face a benefit-in-kind charge from next year.”

Which will be of importance to those companies that already offer such a facility, or are thinking of doing so in the future.

We will comment in more detail on these issues once we have been able to fully absorb the detail which will no doubt be provided in supporting paperwork issued by HM Treasury. Should you require more information in the meantime, please speak to your usual Jelf Consultant.