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      Kirk Rice Blog

      General Election 2024: 4 JulyWritten on May 30, 2024 by Kirk Rice

      Prime Minister Rishi Sunak surprised everybody on 22 May – including many in his own party – with his announcement of a general election on Thursday 4 July.

      At the start of 2024, Rishi Sunak said that his 'working assumption' was that the general election would be held “in the second half of the year”. His unexpected choice of 4 July just passes that midway threshold, so what happens next?

      Election timeline

      The run up to the dissolution of parliament will see a week of frantically trying to pass outstanding legislation (including the March Budget’s Finance Bill). The manifestos will probably appear around the second week of June, although there are some suggestions they may be quite thin documents.

      2324 May ‘Wash up’ period in parliament for outstanding legislation. Sixteen bills will either be dropped or pushed through on a consensus basis. The list includes the relatively short Finance (No 2) Bill 2024, which was at the report stage in the House of Commons when the election was called. Parliament prorogued.
      30 May Parliament dissolved ahead of the 25 day election campaign cycle.
      5 – 16 June Expected publication of party manifestos
      4 July General election

      Tax policies so far

      What we know about the main party’s tax policies so far is limited and well-flagged:

      • The Conservatives want to abolish individual national insurance contributions, but the cost of this is over £40 billion, so it falls into the category of long-term aspiration rather than short-term policy.
      • Labour has said it will:
      • Extend the tax on non-domiciled individuals beyond the arguably stolen proposals revealed by Jeremey Hunt in March;
      • Apply VAT to private education and
      • Change the tax treatment of carried interest for investment managers.

      In terms of revenue raised, the three count as minor revenue raisers.

      Rachel Reeves, the Shadow Chancellor, has effectively signed up for the spending plans that Jeremy Hunt set out in the spring budget. Outside the world of politics, these are not regarded as credible. The chairman of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has described them as worse than fiction. Similarly, the International Monetary Fund’s recent report pointed to the Chancellor’s Budget plans containing a £30 billion black hole that needed filling with tax rises and/or spending cuts.

      Post-election landscape

      Based on previous elections, we could learn more about the new government’s real tax and spending intentions in a Budget held within about two months of the polls closing. That means we could see an incoming Labour Budget in early September. Rachel Reeves has already said she wants to hold a single Budget each year in autumn.

      The (new) Chancellor is due to deliver a Spending Review for the next three years from April 2025, which cannot practically be deferred beyond November.

      Tax announcements might also emerge at that second fiscal event. Autumn brings a number of costly calls on government resources – compensation for the Post Office and blood contamination scandals – to which can be potentially added funds to bail out failing water companies and local councils. Theoretically due in autumn, the next Economic and Fiscal Outlook from the OBR looks like a challenge for whoever is Chancellor – and may explain that early election date.

      Tax treatment varies according to individual circumstances and is subject to change.

      Please note: This article is correct as at the publication date. The answers are given for general guidance only and specific advice should be taken before acting on any of the suggestions made. The information is based on current tax legislation which may change in future. Information is based on our current understanding of taxation legislation and regulations. Any levels and bases of relief from taxation are subject to change. The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate tax planning.

      Click here to view the sources for this blog.

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