If you’re anything like us, you probably find the Spring Budget 2017 itself a little bit baffling.
There’s so many figures to get your head around, but what we all really want to know is what it means for us – and when it comes to important issues like childcare and schooling, what it means for our children.
In his announcement, Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond said that he hoped to create ‘an economy that works for everyone’ and make the economy ‘stronger and fairer’. Here, we take a look at some of the biggest announcements from this year’s budget, and spell out what they could really mean for you and your family…
The budget confirmed previous plans for working parents with three and four-year-olds to have their free childcare entitlement doubled to 30 hours a week by the end of the year. The change, which will reportedly occur in September, will affect two million households and could be worth up to £5,000 per child, according to the government.
This is in addition to the Tax-Free childcare scheme that is also set to be rolled out shortly, which sees working families with children under 12 receive up to £2,000 a year to be put towards childcare costs. Tax relief will also be doubled for children with disabilities.
Children aged eight to 16 are already entitled to free transport to their closest suitable school if they live more than three miles away – but if your child is aged 11-16, receives free school meals, or you claim the maximum working tax credit, they might also become eligible for free school transport to their local selective or grammar school, if it’s between two and 15 miles from home.
The government also announced that they will be providing maintenance loans – similar to the loans for university students – to 16 to 19-year-old students taking new higher-level technical courses (or ‘T-levels’) from 2019-20.
Working on the current living wage? Good news – your salary is set to rise, with an increase of 30p per hour (taking the rate from £7.20 to £7.50). However, if you’re self-employed, your pay packet may end up taking a hit, as National Insurance bills will go up from 9% to 11% over the next two years.
It’s also already been announced that the personal allowance before you pay tax will increase to £11,500 from 6th April, with the higher rate tax bracket being boosted to £45,000.
Returning to work
Money expert Andy Webb of the Money Advice Service explains that the government will invest £5 million to find ways to better support ‘returnships’ for people who’ve taken a long break from their career.
This is likely to make more opportunities open to women and men returning to work after raising children.
Food and drink
The battle against sugar continues, with the government confirming that sugary drinks will cost more going forward. The ‘sugar tax‘ will be 18p for drinks with more than 5g of sugar per 100ml, and 24p for drinks containing 8g of more of sugar per 100ml.
Although you might have to slow down your Coca-Cola habit, the scheme does have an upside, as the estimated £4bn raised through the tax will be put towards sports in schools and healthy living initiatives.
However, it’s not just the kids’ drinks that will be affected by the budget – from 13th March 2017, the duty rates on beer, cider, wine and spirits will go up with inflation, meaning your tipple could end up costing you a little more too.