"Back from the brink" (or down the sink?). The Chancellor's announced the outcome of his Spending Review today.

Key measures (from a tax adviser's perspective)

  • The introduction of a permanent bank levy.
  • The Treasury will see a 33% cut in funding.
  • HM Revenue & Customs funding cannot be cut (it collects all the funds for the other departments) so it is expected to tighten its belt up further and reduce its costs by 15%. These savings will apparently come from IT.
  • The Goverment has also accepted the findings of the interim Hutton Report on public service pensions. Broadly this indicates that workers will need to save at least an extra 3% of earnings.
  • Benefits are being tightened up and a Universal Credit will be introduced over two Parliaments to replace the current system of means tested working age benefits.  
  • Back to business: all government departments will be required to prepare a business plan covering the next four years.

Editorial comment:

This was not a pre-budget report as such.

"Back from the brink" is a phrase mentioned by the Chancellor. We could not resist making this rhyme, that's all.