R&D Tax Credits: A Brief Guide – Update Budget 2014

R&D Tax Credits are only available to entities within a charge to corporation tax. Therefore, individuals or partnerships made up of individuals are not eligible to claim.

Small & Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) 

The SME Scheme provides a super-deduction from taxable profits equal to 225% of qualifying R&D expenditure. If the company does not have sufficient profits, the R&D tax relief may be surrendered to H M Revenue and Customs in return for a cash payment equal to 11% of the surrendered amount.  This rate has been increased to 14.5% in Budget 2014 and will apply from 1 April 2014.

SMEs that have received grant funding or operate as a subcontractor for another party may still be able to claim R&D tax credits but may be restricted to using the Large Company Schemes.

SME thresholds are applied to the claimant and associated enterprises – together they must have less than 500 employees and have turnover of less than €100m and / or a balance sheet total of under €86m.

Large Companies

Large companies (i.e. entities that are not SMEs) may choose between two schemes. The first operates in a similar fashion to the SME scheme but provides a ‘not-so-super’ deduction equal to 130% of the qualifying expenditure. However, there is no cash payment option.

This scheme is only available up to 31 March 2016 when it will be abolished.

Alternatively, the company may claim the R&D Expenditure Credit which provides a taxable credit at a rate of 10% of qualifying expenditure. Subject to certain conditions, this credit may be payable to a company without sufficient taxable profits.

What is Qualifying R&D?

The definition of R&D for tax purposes differs from the commercial definition. Although the definition broadly follows the accounting standards SSAP 13 and IAS 38, the department of Business, Innovation and Skills also issued guidelines which must be considered.

The BIS guidelines state that:

“R&D takes place when there is a project that seeks to achieve an advance in science or technology.

The activities directly contribute to achieving this advance in science or technology through the resolution of scientific or technological uncertainty.”

This definition is not particularly user-friendly, so we have drafted a series of questions to assist with the qualification of R&D projects:

Do the Activities in a Project Qualify?

1. Does the company undertake the development or improvement of products, devices, components, services, materials or processes including projects for internal use, commercial exploitation or unsuccessful projects?

2. Has the company sought to integrate or duplicate existing products, devices, components, materials, services or processes in an improved way?

3. Has the company undertaken research and development on behalf of a customer or client? This will include testing, consultancy or other tasks prepared with respect to a larger overall project.

What is the Advancement in Science or Technology?

4.  Have any of the projects mentioned in 1, 2 or 3 above sought an advance in science or technology? Such an    advance will improve the knowledge or capability in a field, not just within the company but may include the         adaption of knowledge or capability from another field.

The advance may have tangible or intangible benefits but cosmetic or aesthetic improvements    do not qualify.

5. Did the company dedicate effort to resolving uncertainty within projects? If the knowledge of whether something is feasible is not readily available or deducible by a competent professional in the field, uncertainty exists. This will include system uncertainty whereby work is undertaken to combine existing technologies in an effective manner.

6. Does the company employ technically experienced or qualified individuals, external parties or subcontractors to work on these projects?

Qualifying Expenditure

The categories of qualifying expenditure will vary dependent upon which scheme the company is seeking claim under but the main categories include:

  • Staffing Costs: Salaries, wages and other cash emoluments. Dividends and benefits in kind do not qualify.
  • Consumables: Materials and other items used up in the project including software and utilities.
  • Externally Provided Workers: Third party workers employed through a staff provider or agency.
  • Subcontractors: Certain payments for subcontracted R&D may qualify.

Summary

R&D tax relief is not restricted to companies operating within high-tech industries and indeed, successful claims have been made by companies operating in more traditional manufacturing and engineering industries including the construction and agri-food sectors for example.

The schemes now offer their most generous level of relief since inception of the scheme at the turn of the millennium and as an initial assessment from Capitus is free and without obligation, R&D tax credits should be considered for all relevant projects.


Budget 2014

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne must have been satisfied with the position from which he delivered the 2014 Budget to the House of Commons. The country is experiencing lower inflation, rising employment, rising growth and improving public finances which must all be comforting indicators but whilst the Budget speech was full of bravado, there were no vanguard economic ideas or policies to admire.

Some of the key measures announced or reiterated in the Budget statement include:

(i)                  Annual Investment Allowance Extended and Increased

The Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) provides taxpayers with a specified amount of tax relief for investment in plant and machinery (P&M). Generally, capital allowances for plant and machinery are given over time to ensure the tax life of an item resembles the useful economic life.

The Chancellor has announced that a bumper new AIA of £500k will be available for expenditure incurred on qualifying P&M between 1 April 2014 and 31 December 2015 allowing taxpayers to take a full deduction for P&M investment in the year of expenditure up to this new limit.

The current AIA of £250k was due to expire at the end of this calendar year and the new bumper amount is 10 times the amount which was originally introduced in 2008.

(ii)                Capital Allowances in Enterprise Zones

The 100% capital allowances for investment in plant and machinery within certain Enterprise Zones will be extended until 2020. This measure will only affect specific zones through England, Wales and Scotland.

In addition, Westminster has agreed with the Northern Ireland Executive that a new Enterprise Zone in the Coleraine area will be set up.

(iii)               Corporation Tax Rates

The main rate of corporation tax will fall to 21% from 1 April 2014 and then to 20% from 1 April 2015. Unfortunately, the Government has not been as generous in reducing the small profits rate of corporation tax paid by smaller entities, which remains at 20%.

Before the 2010 election, the main rate of corporation tax was 28% and the small company rate had just been raised to 21%. Over the past couple of decades, the main rate of corporation tax had been as high as 35%.

(iv)              R&D Tax Credits

The Government has continued to improve the generous R&D tax credit scheme and will increase the rate at which the R&D tax credit may be surrendered to 14.5%.

At present, loss-making entities claiming under the SME scheme for R&D tax credits may surrender the lower of the R&D tax relief and the trading loss for the period to H M Revenue and Customs in return for a payment equal to 11%.

(v)                Business Premises Renovation Allowances

Following a consultation, the Treasury announced changes to the BPRA regime to ensure greater efficiency and reduce the risk of exploitation. Please see the article in our news section regarding the updates.

(vi)              Creative Industries

The Government is also seeking to maintain momentum in the creative industries by confirming lucrative tax relief for qualifying theatre productions, film productions, video-games and high-end TV productions.

In Summary

In a particularly political Budget designed to win votes ahead of next year’s General Election, the Chancellor continued with a pro-business approach which will ease the burden on small and medium sized enterprises and hopefully encourage additional investment.

There was also good news for lower earners as the income tax personal allowance was increased, whereas couples and families will be buoyed by transferable personal allowances for married couples and support for childcare.

The overhaul of the pension system was not good news for the large investment and insurance firms as granting people more freedom with their pension pots will invariably lead to more spending but lower annuity purchases while savers also received a boost with attractive pensioner bond rates and increased ISA allowances.

No doubt a few will be swayed by the Budget measures and will be hoping for more good news in the next year’s Budget just before the 2015 General Election but with the recovery still taking shape, it remains to be seen how liberal the Tories may become.


Are the New CPSEs for Capital Allowances Fit for Purpose?

New Commercial Property Standard Enquiries (CPSE.1 Version 3.3) were published on 28th February 2014. A new Enquiry 32, purportedly dealing with capital allowances, was introduced and this replaced the existing Enquiry 19.

As CPSE.1 has become the set of enquiries that most solicitors now adopt on commercial property transactions, a number of solicitors have asked us to comment on whether or not we consider them to be fit for purpose from a capital allowances perspective. To answer that question, we have had to consider what we believe their purpose to be.  We believe that the main purposes of pre-contract capital allowances enquiries should include:

  1. Establishing whether or not the Buyer could become entitled to claim plant & machinery allowances in respect of fixtures upon their acquisition of a property from a Seller, either directly from that Seller, or via a former owner of the Property; and
  2. To provide sufficient information to allow the Buyer to estimate the potential value of those capital allowances and establish any potential restrictions on the amounts claimable; and
  3. To ascertain what mechanisms need to be put in place to allow the Buyer to become entitled to those capital allowances.

It is our view that Version 3.3 CPSE 1 enquiries are not comprehensive enough to ascertain the level of detail necessary to establish much of the above.  We are therefore of the opinion that Enquiry 32 of CPSE. 1 (Version 3.3) are NOT fit for purpose, if that purpose is the purpose as outlined above. Accordingly, we will not be advising our clients to rely solely on the answers to these enquiries.

Capital allowances pre-contract enquiries need to determine not only what the Seller has done or has not done, but what the Seller COULD have done.  In our opinion, the latest CPSE.1 (Version 3.3) enquiries do not adequately achieve this and in fact, could actually be detrimental to establishing that position. We consider that many of the questions will elicit the response from the seller of either “Not Applicable” or “The seller cannot provide this information and the Buyer should rely on their own further enquiries”. As such, we believe that they will become unworkable on a practical level and will not provide the information sought.

  • Solicitors acting for a Buyer of a commercial property are best placed to contractually secure the Seller’s commitment to do what is necessary to allow the Buyer to maximise the allowances available.
  • After 31 March 2014 Buyers have a maximum of 2 years from Legal Completion to have completed the steps necessary to become entitled to claim all of the capital allowances in a property purchase.
  • Prior to exchange this can be a contractual requirement, thus ensuring the Buyer’s entitlement to allowances is protected.
  • After exchange (in the absence of a contractual requirement) this will only be possible with the Seller’s co-operation  (who may wish to share in the benefit of the unclaimed allowances and thus reduce the benefit of the allowances to the Buyer who will suffer a loss as a consequence of inadequate contractual protection).
  • 2 years after Legal Completion this will not be possible at all, with or without the Seller’s co-operation and unclaimed allowances will be irrevocably lost to the Buyer and all future Buyers.

Capitus has developed a service for solicitors (see here) which includes asking our own comprehensive enquiries, interpreting the responses to those enquiries and advising on a strategy that puts the Buyer in the best possible position to secure entitlement to capital allowances . Crucially, this also applies to Buyers who are non-taxpayers e.g. pension funds and who may subsequently sell the property to a taxpayer. The service specifically addresses the complex capital allowances issues which must now be considered and removes risk from solicitors acting for Buyers.

In conclusion, for solicitors advising on commercial property transactions after 31 March 2014, we recommend that consideration is given to the following points:

  1. Consider limiting the scope of engagement with clients to specifically exclude advising on capital allowances and advise clients that you consider their interests would be best served by engaging capital allowances specialists to advise on this aspect of the transaction
  2. If this is not possible, for whatever reason, one should proceed on the basis that, in our considered opinion, replies given to new enquiry 32 of CPSE.1 Version 3.3 may not adequately protect the Buyer’s position without further specialist interpretation.

For further information or to arrange a training seminar explaining the new rules and how they impact on solicitors dealing with commercial property transactions, please contact us.


Research & Development Tax Credits – The Role of Subcontractors in R&D

R&D Tax Credits provide valuable corporation tax relief for entities incurring qualifying expenditure on R&D. The categories of qualifying expenditure are included within the legislation but the rules for contracted out R&D are complicated and it is possible that the entitlement to R&D tax credits may rest with either the contracting party or the subcontractor.

Contracted Out R&D:

Small or Medium-Sized Enterprises

If a Small or Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) is undertaking qualifying R&D under Chapter 2 of the Corporation Tax Act (CTA) 2009, the company may make a claim for R&D tax credits to include costs for subcontracted R&D, provided that those costs are not subsidised (i.e. no grants have been received) and the R&D project hasn’t been contracted to the SME in the first place.

The identity of the subcontractor is not necessarily important, so if the subcontractor is a partnership, individual or company the costs may be included but if the parties are connected, a different approach must be undertaken to calculate the qualifying element of the expenditure.

If the parties are not connected, the qualifying element of the expenditure is restricted to 65% of the amount paid to the subcontractor. This restriction was designed to remove the profit element from such costs and to ensure the claimant’s calculation adequately resembles the base resources used.

Importantly, the ownership of the R&D project is vested in the contracting company and therefore, only that company may claim R&D tax credits on the expenditure. As we will note in other scenarios, the ownership of the R&D may move to the subcontractor.

SME as a Subcontractor

An SME may claim for R&D undertaken as a subcontractor if the contracting company is a large company or a contractor not undertaking a qualifying activity for tax purposes (i.e. a public body or university for example) under chapter 3, CTA 2009.

This situation is prevalent in many industries, but a claim for R&D tax credits on behalf of the SME is often overlooked.

The SME is effectively piggy-backing on the larger company’s qualifying project but may claim R&D tax credits if the R&D is relevant to their trade. As we will see below, the large company is precluded from claiming for any payments made to the SME.

If the SME is using other subcontractors to assist with the project, they may only make a claim for those costs if the subcontractor is an individual, a partnership of individuals or a qualifying body. H M Revenue & Customs publish lists of qualifying bodies which are generally higher level educational establishments.

Large Companies

Claimants under the large company scheme (chapter 5, CTA 2009) or the new R&D Expenditure Credits scheme may also include subcontractor costs on R&D projects.

However, the identity of the subcontractor is important and large companies may only claim for R&D subcontracted to individuals, partnerships of individuals or qualifying bodies. Claimants using Chapter 5, CTA 2009 may also include payments to qualifying bodies for ‘independent research’. So if a large company is funding research at qualifying university or college, they may make a claim for R&D tax relief or the RDEC for that expenditure.

Summary

The role of subcontractors within R&D projects may be becoming more prevalent but it is important to consider these relationships when seeking to claim R&D tax credits. The rules are complicated but with the rates of relief at a more generous level than ever before, the benefit of maximising the qualifying costs is significant.

The nature of the relationship, the identity of the subcontractor and their size will affect the relief available but importantly, the identity of the claimant may also determine whether any relief is available.


Care Home Operators

Capitus have a wide experience of working with care and residential home operators in the UK and abroad.  We are proud to count some of the largest healthcare and palliative care providers as our clients and have advised and claimed on behalf of many smaller local care home groups and single owner operators.

There are a number of areas care home operators should be aware, we detail some of the most important below.

Major Changes to a Buyer’s Entitlement to Claim Capital Allowances on the Acquisition of a Care Home

By far the most significant change to the capital allowances legislation in decades was introduced in Finance Act 2012. Since April 2012, for any commercial property transaction, Capital Allowances must be transferred between the seller and buyer of a property using methods outlined in the new rules established by HMRC. However, from April 2014, the rules become even more restrictive and care home operators acquiring properties after 31 March 2014 could well find themselves without any entitlement to claim any capital allowances whatsoever.

This fundamental change to the law can have costly repercussions for anyone buying a commercial property because without correct due diligence, including the insertion of specific clauses in the purchase contract and Heads of Terms, any and all unclaimed capital allowances could be lost to the purchaser and future owners.

If you have recently purchased or plan to purchase a care home it is imperative specialist advice is sought otherwise £’000′s in unclaimed tax relief could be lost to you!

Finance Act 2012

Introduction of Integral Features in April 2008

Integral Features relate to certain types of plant and machinery that were not allowable prior to April 2008, and include

  • Electrical systems (including lighting)
  • Cold and hot water systems
  • Air-conditioning and ventilation systems
  • Lifts. escalators and moving walkways
  • External solar shading

This list is not exhaustive but by using a specialist capital allowances property surveyor to identify qualifying items, Integral Features can account for between 6% – 13% of the total purchase price of the property.

Any commercial property purchased after March 2008 is a candidate for what we term an extra/over claim (so called because the purchaser can avail themselves of an additional capital allowances claim unrestricted by any previous owner’s claim(s)).

Historic Reviews of Expenditure

Annual Investment Allowances (AIA)

The Chancellor announced in the 2012 Autumn Statement that the government would temporarily increase the AIA to £250,000 for the period 1st January 2013 until 31st December 2014.

A welcome incentive to invest in plant and machinery and one that care home operators should ensure they take specialist capital allowances advice for.  By ensuring an AIA claim is maximised it could mean at least a £50,000 tax bill reduction!

Capital Projects  

Annual Capital Expenditure Review

Claiming capital allowances for a care home refurbishment would appear to be straightforward!  Not so, consider the following:-

  • Can certain aspects of the refurbishment be claimed as a revenue deduction? A revenue deduction equates to a 100% tax reduction of the cost of the qualifying investment instead of writing down the expenditure at 18% or 8% over several years.
  • Does repairing an ‘Integral Feature’ represent less than 50% of the entire cost of a new system? Therefore claimable as a revenue deduction!
  • Are building alterations required for the installation of plant and machinery? Tax relief is available on the cost of making building modifications for the purposes of installing plant and machinery.
  • Will energy or water efficient technology be installed? For items of plant and machinery that are deemed to be energy or water efficient according to strict Government criteria, a 100% first year tax relief is available.  This means that the total cost of such plant and machinery is claimable against tax in the year the expenditure is incurred.

Consideration of these and many other aspects of the design, before and during a refurbishment project can again represent £’000′s in tax savings.

Capitus offer a full Capital Allowance design review service to make any refurbishment or refit as tax efficient as possible.

Refurbishments


Autumn Statement 2013

The Coalition will have been delighted to deliver the 2013 Autumn Statement from a position of relative economic strength (at least compared to the previous few years) and that strength is perhaps reflected by the rather tame offering from the Chancellor.

Further cuts to governmental budgets have been announced and the realisation of saleable assets continues as the Government considers selling off student loan books and the investment in Eurostar.

There were a lack of cutting edge policy announcements but the biggest section of the report related to continued desire to limit taxation avoidance and evasion. The Treasury has moved swiftly to close a number of loopholes, respond to tidy up existing legislation and introduce new regulations.

However, a number of policies have been announced to support the economy and encourage investment including:

  • Abolishing employer NIC for the under 21s (apart from those earning above £815 per week).
  • Improving taxation relief available for employee share schemes.
  • Providing taxation relief for social investment enterprises.
  • Business rates reformed to help small businesses and landlords with empty properties.
  • The Office for Tax Simplification will lead a review into excessive administrative burdens within the UK tax system.
  • Support for education and research has also been announced with a range of helpful measures including additional financial support for apprenticeship places.

Whilst the GDP forecasts and employment figures continue to improve, the Coalition must be sure not to grab any recovery with two hands but continue to assist with the rebalancing of the UK economy away from consumer demand (and the housing market) towards investment in business and skills.

This rather lacklustre Autumn Statement may reflect the fact that the Coalition is holding their breath waiting for a recovery to really take hold but whilst they continue to tinker around the edges, they may already believe that the hard work has been undertaken and that success is self-evident.

One fact is quite clear – the lines between managing one’s tax affairs efficiently, so-called immoral avoidance and outright tax evasion continue to blur as the Government continue to surf the wave of public opinion against those taking steps to mitigate taxation liabilities. The question is that how long will these lines remain distinct at all?


Limit on Income Tax Relief: Guidance 2013/14

Following a consultation commenced in July 2012, the Government decided to introduce a cap on income tax reliefs claimable by individuals and accordingly, legislation was enacted in Finance Act 2013. The new legislation has effect from 6 April 2013 and therefore applies for the tax year to 5 April 2014.

Operation of the New Rules

There is now a limit on the amount of previously uncapped income tax relief that an individual may claim for deduction from their total income. The limit in each tax year is the greater of £50,000 or 25% of the adjusted total income.

The following reliefs are subject to the limit:

  • Trade Loss Relief against general income (s.64, ITA 2007).
  • Early Trade Loss Relief (s.72, ITA 2007).
  • Post-cessation Trade Relief (s.96, ITA 2007).
  • Property Loss Relief against general income (s.120, ITA 2007).
  • Post-cessation Property Relief (s.125, ITA 2007).
  • Employment Loss Relief (s.128, ITA 2007).
  • Former Employees Deduction for Liabilities (s.555, ITEPA 2003).
  • Share Loss Relief (Chpt 6, Part 4, ITA 2007).
  • Losses on Deeply Discounted Securities (from s.446, ITEPA 2003).
  • Qualifying Loan Interest (Chpt 1, Part 8, ITA 2008).

The following reliefs are specifically excluded from the limit:

  • Relief for Business Premises Renovation Allowances,
  • Trade or property losses for utilisation against the same activity,
  • Share loss relief where the shares qualify for EIS or SEIS relief.

Importantly, adjusted total income for purposes of the limit is calculated as being the total income liable to income tax adjusted for pension contributions and charitable donations.

Therefore, as a consequence of the introduction of the limit, so-called sideways loss relief will be restricted though the existing rules regarding carrying back and carrying forward losses for utilisation against the same business will be unaffected.

HMRC have issued detailed guidance which is available at the following link: hmrc.gov.uk/budget-updates/march2013/limit-relief-guidance.

 

 

For more information, please contact Andrew Reid via email at reid@capitus.co.uk or on 028 2564 7022.


Business Premises Renovation Allowances: Update in Finance Bill 2014

The Business Premises Renovation Allowance (BPRA) scheme has endured a chequered history recently. The scheme was targeted for extermination following a review by the Office for Tax Simplification but was subsequently granted a reprieve by the Treasury and after a few tweaks the scheme was renewed until April 2017.

However, the Government became concerned with perceived abuse of the scheme and issued a consultation on 18 July 2013 with a desire to make the legislation clearer and to reduce the risks of exploitation. The Government response to the consultation together with a summary of responses from interested parties was issued alongside draft legislation to be included in Finance Bill 2014 in December 2013.

The draft legislation proposes the following amendments to the scheme from April 2014:

(i)                 Definition of Qualifying Expenditure

The existing legislation simply referred to qualifying expenditure being capital expenditure incurred in connection with the conversion, renovation or repair of a qualifying building and had been open to wide (and creative) interpretation.

Subsection (1) s.360B, Capital Allowances Act (CAA) 2001 will be amended to stipulate that conditions A and B must now be met for the expenditure to qualify for BPRAs. Condition A reiterates that the expenditure must be incurred on the conversion, renovation or repair of a qualifying building, whilst Condition B states that the expenditure must be incurred on:

  • Building works,
  • Architectural or design services,
  • Surveying or engineering services,
  • Planning applications, or
  • Statutory fees or statutory permissions.

This exhaustive list was designed to remove the ambiguity which led to claimants including diverse items of expenditure such as rental guarantees, financing costs or so-called super profits for developers within a claim for BPRAs.

However, the legislation provides that if the expenditure does not fall within the list, the claimant may still include the additional expenditure but only up to a value of 5% of the building works.

(ii)               Fixtures

Previously, if an item was deemed to be a ‘fixture’ as defined within s.173, CAA 2001, the expenditure could be included within a claim for BPRA. This allowed claimants to include expenditure on plant & machinery (P&M) within a BPRA claim if the P&M was affixed to the property.

The proposed legislation in Finance Bill 2014 amended this definition to allow BPRAs only on items of P&M which are deemed to be integral features within s. 33A, CAA 2001.

Therefore, tax relief will be accelerated for items such as electrical systems, cold water systems or lifts which would usually qualify for writing down allowances at 8% per annum only.

(iii)             Market Value Restriction

Expenditure will be excluded if it exceeds the market value for the works or services. Market value is defined as a cost which is ‘normal and reasonable’ considering current market conditions and which would be expected to be charged between parties operating at arm’s length.

(iv)              Delay in Works

The Government was concerned that BPRAs were claimed for expenditure which may have been subject to a long delay and occasionally on projects which were not completed. In an attempt to counteract this perceived weakness in the legislation, section 360BA will be inserted to CAA 2001 to disqualify expenditure which have not been completed or provided within 24 months of the date of expenditure.

(v)                Balancing Adjustments

At present if a disposal event occurs within 7 years of the date of expenditure, a full clawback of the BPRA will be executed. As per Finance Bill 2014, this limit is reduced to 5 years making the scheme much more flexible.

Conclusion

The BPRA scheme is a particularly generous though underutilised form of taxation relief available for property investment. The 100% upfront tax relief for usually non-qualifying expenditure provides a genuine incentive to undertake development in disadvantaged areas though there are several conditions which must be considered.

The relief is available to persons chargeable to corporation tax or income tax, therefore the effective cost saving could be up to 45% for additional rate income tax payers. Importantly, sideways utilisation of BPRAs against general income is not caught within the income tax relief cap which was introduced in Finance Act 2013.

For more information, please contact Andrew Reid via email at reid@capitus.co.uk or on 028 2564 7022.


Treasury Autumn Statement

The Treasury has confirmed that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne will deliver his Autumn Statement (no, not pre-Budget Report) to the House of Commons on 4 December 2013.

The statement will provide an update to the Government’s planning for the economy in response to the latest forecasts released by the Office for Budget Responsibility. The forecasts will be issued on the same day.

Major announcements are not expected, though as we are already entering the run-up to the 2015 general election, expect Mr Osborne to woo voters with further promises of tax cuts and a response to the rising costs of living.


Budget 2013

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP, delivered his fourth Budget speech to the House of Commons on 20 March 2013. The announcement followed closely with the themes of previous years – public expenditure will be squeezed, taxes on businesses will be eased but fiscal targets have been missed.

Indeed, the most controversial issue raised was that the London Evening Standard had published details of the Budget before the Chancellor had even stood up! Read more in the related document Budget 2013.