Tony Medcalf, head of tax at Lancashire-based accountancy firm MHA Moore and Smalley, said: “There’s been talk about the chancellor using this budget to woo younger voters, perhaps by offering some form of tax break to younger people. There’s been suggestions that this could be something around National Insurance Contributions, but we’ll have to wait and see.
“I think Mr Hammond will want to be seen to be increasing public spending. Therefore, we might see some announcements relating to increased funding for housing and the NHS and, perhaps, some relaxation of public sector pay caps.
“With the continued uncertainty around Brexit, the chancellor will want to be saying that ‘Britain’s open for business’. However, he’s still walking that tightrope of being accused by Labour of offering tax cuts to big business, so I don’t think he can afford to be too over the top. The better than expected Q3 GDP figures will probably have eased the pressure on the chancellor to intervene on business taxes. As a result, I think it’s unlikely we’ll see corporate tax rates going any lower than they are already.
“I don’t expect any major structural changes to the headline tax rates. Any alterations are likely to be tinkering. Despite the recent drop in government borrowing, I still think any tax giveaways would likely be funded by tax clawbacks elsewhere.
“This is the first budget after the election, which is normally the time political parties make their boldest and most controversial changes. However, I can’t see anything too radical being proposed this time. Following the narrow win at the election, the chancellor will want to avoid any major own goals. I expect Mr Hammond to stick to his overall message about creating a stable economy over the long term.”