Expect infrastructure spending and fuel duty plans, say briefing panellists

TAX and infrastructure are among areas certain to come under the spotlight at the Herald’s Budget Briefing Breakfast on March 12, the expert panellists have said.

Roger Clark, head of wealth management at Brown Shipley, said: “One thing we know for sure is this is a Government very much in the mould of its leader and we should expect immediate actions, and perhaps bold initiatives, to help fund the well-publicised spending plans. The tax burden is the highest it’s been in over three decades so ambitious reforms are certainly welcome, but we would urge the new Chancellor to ensure any decisions are rooted in evidence.”

Professor Graeme Roy, head of economics at Strathclyde Business School and director of the Fraser of Allander Institute, said: “Expect to hear a lot about productivity, and in particular supporting economies outside of London – the so called ‘levelling up’ agenda. Underpinning this will be new spending initiatives, particularly in infrastructure.

“The Budget will also contain details of tax policy. On income tax, businesses in Scotland will be nervous that the tax gap between Scotland and the rest of the UK for higher earners could widen further.”

Grant Johnston, partner at Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie, said: “One of the focus areas which continues to come up is tax relief for pension contributions and whether Sunak will choose to remove or restrict this for higher earners.
“Cross-party support has been expressed for cuts to inheritance tax – potentially down from 40% to 10% – so it will be interesting to see how this is approached.

“Fuel duty is sure to be another hot topic, as the Chancellor has so far refused to rule out increasing this. This would be the first increase of its kind in almost a decade.”

Fraser Campbell, partner and head of family business at Campbell Dallas, added on the event: “The Budget Briefing is a key event in the diary for business leaders to discuss the impact of the Budget for the year ahead.

“Through panel discussions, Q&A and time to network, business leaders can gain insight and knowledge from fellow professionals on what the Budget means for business.”