Budget key points: All you need to know about Jeremy Hunt's spring statement
Comment of the Day

March 15 2023

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Budget key points: All you need to know about Jeremy Hunt's spring statement

This article from the Independent may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section: 

Defence budget and levelling up
Mr Hunt confirmed the government will add £11 billion to the defence budget over the next five years and another £30 million is being allocated for veterans.

There will be 12 new investment zones, and they will potentially be in the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, the North East, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, East Midlands, Teesside and Liverpool. There will also be at least one in each of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Mr Hunt also announced a series of levelling-up and local transport-related funding pots.

The chancellor confirmed the planned increase in corporation tax to 25 per cent will be going ahead, but announced a new policy of “full capital expensing” over the next three years, which will mean every pound invested in IT equipment, plant, or machinery can be deducted immediately from profits.

Mr Hunt said he will introduce a new tax credit for small and medium-sized firms that spend 40 per cent of their expenditure on research and development. Tax reliefs for film, TV and video gaming will also be extended, he said.

Up to £20 billion will be allocated for the early development of carbon capture and storage.

Mr Hunt said that, subject to consultation, nuclear power will qualify for the same investment incentives as renewable energy and alongside that “will come more public investment”.

Eoin Treacy's view

Falling Gilt yields could not come at a better times for the UK and its mortgage holders. The upgraded growth estimate which expects to avoid a recession this year helps to highlight the efforts of the Bank of England to talk the market down were more about affecting sentiment than actually containing growth.
The additional money for child care, removal of caps on pensions, to get doctors back into the workforce, and subsidies for investment and carbon sequestration are all pro-growth. The fact this is twinned with the highest tax burden in decades suggests winning investments will have a government support program backing them up.

Nevertheless, the short-term pressure from the banking sector cannot be ignored. The knock-on effects of banks marking their bonds holdings to market or avoiding that pain both reduce liquidity in the global economy.
The FTSE-100 has failed to sustain the breakout to new highs and is coming back down in a dynamic manner. Meanwhile, the relative strength of the Dollar, and rebound in demand for sovereign bonds and gold signal a clear flight to quality. 

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