Tony Medcalf, head of tax at Lancashire-based accountancy firm MHA Moore and Smalley, said: “Without doubt the biggest surprise in this budget is the abolition of stamp duty on house purchases up to £300,000 for first time buyers, which will help many young people in the North West straight away and could provide a big economic boost.
“Motorists will also breathe a sigh of relief at the freeze in fuel duty, however, Vehicle Excise Duty for polluting diesel cars is set to rise from next year, though Mr Hammond assured us this would not affect small business owners who drive vans.
“Lower earners will welcome the slight increase in the National Living Wage and the increase in the income tax personal allowance to £11,850 from April 2018. Higher earners will also benefit from an increase in the higher rate tax threshold to £46,350.
“Businesses will be encouraged by the chancellor’s tough talking on job creation and some of the big money he plans to invest in tech initiatives like AI, fibre broadband, 5G and driverless car technology.
Meanwhile, pubs and restaurants will be pleased that alcohol duty was frozen again.
“The chancellor also pledged to keep the VAT threshold at £85,000 for a further two years which will be a relief to many small and start-up businesses, as many experts were tipping this to be reduced.
“There was good news for smaller housebuilders and developers with a £44bn package of measures to support housebuilding, construction skills training and planning reform.
“There was a mention of the Northern Powerhouse with as £1.7bn Transforming Cities Fund launched, though whether that will filter through to Lancashire and Cumbria remains to be seen.”