Today a lot of the adults in your life will probably be talking about the Budget. It’s not quite the same as your personal or household budget, it’s the national budget.
What is the Budget?
The Budget of the United Kingdom is a document which sets out what the government intends to spend money on in the following year. News coverage of the budget usually describes increases or decreases in spending on certain items.
A print-out of the Budget document is traditionally presented in a red briefcase by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, an MP and Minister who is in charge of the nation’s finances- and therefore the Prime Minister’s “right hand man”. The Chancellor at the moment is Philip Hammond, and yes, he is a man and sits to the right of Theresa May in the House of Commons.
How does the Budget affect young people in Wales?
Even if you aren’t working, or aren’t earning enough to pay tax, there are loads of ways the Budget will affect you- and not just because it will affect your family as well. Most effects of the Budget start kicking in in April 2019, when the 2019-20 Financial Year begins. Here are some of the ways the Budget affects you.
It is also worth noting that a large number of the announcements made only apply to England- the English NHS and schools in England got major pay-rises, but there is an extra £550m allocated to the Welsh Government.
There is going to be a tax on any packaging which isn’t made from at least 30% recycled materials. We can’t claim that the #NoMorPlastic campaign we ran led to this, but hey, maybe. Basically the simpler the packaging, or the less packaging an item has, the cheaper it’s going to be to buy.
On the flipside driving a car or van is set to become cheaper- hardly that good for the environment, but if you’re trying to get started in any career which requires you to have a full paid driving licence- for example as a photographer, a care worker or a handyman- this will be very handy. Fuel duty will remain frozen, which should save car drivers about £1000 over the financial year.
If you do prefer to catch the train, you will be able to keep getting those excellent 30% discounted fares for a long time to come, by purchasing a “26-30” railcard after you’re too old for a “16-25”. This was announced last year and a few lucky young adults already grabbed one, but it sounds like a comprehensive roll-out is coming soon. Don’t get too excited- railcards can’t be used at peak times or to buy season tickets. The Sprout has a handy travel section with more information:
The higher income-rate tax threshold has gone up from £11,850 to £12,500. Amazing news if you’re on minimum wage, which unfortunately doesn’t see much change if you’re under 25. However over 25s will see a small increase in the over 25 minimum wage, known as the living wage.
£250m has been earmarked for a new mental health crisis service. This should also apply in Wales.
Good news if you hope to buy a house in the next 5 years- the Help to Buy scheme has been extended. Originally intended to last until 2021, the scheme, which helps young people put down a deposit for a mortgage, now lasts until 2023.
A final cause for a little celebration: duty on beer, cider and spirits will remain frozen (though not wine). Live Lounge, anyone?
Does Brexit affect the Budget?
It’s quite possible that the entire Budget will be cancelled and an emergency Budget announced if the Brexit talks reach a “no deal.” This will happen on 29 March, just before we leave the EU and also just before the new financial year begins.