Weekly Knowledge Collection | Spring Budget special

Published on 5th Mar 2021

Welcome to this week's Knowledge Collection.


As UK business weighs up the implications of Rishi Sunak's Budget, our expert teams have offered their assessments of the detail, which was big on support for jobs and restrained on immediate tax increases (even the expected corporation tax rise to 25% will not come into effect until 1 April 2023).

The chancellor has promised to protect "jobs and livelihoods", through total fiscal support of £407 billion over this tax year and next. Our tax, employment, incentives, pensions and workforce solutions teams outline the main measures that will affect businesses.

The Budget did not have the focus on decarbonisation that many had expected. Nevertheless, the launch of new funding for energy innovation and details of the new UK Infrastructure Bank will be welcomed as businesses tackle the challenge of funding the transition to a net zero economy.


What tax measures were announced?

The extension of tax support measures for businesses featured prominently in this week's Budget, which it appears has paved the way for tax rises and changes for the autumn Budget or later down the line. Our tax specialists assess the implications of Rishi Sunak's announcements on corporation tax, England's eight new freeports, employment, income and real estate taxes, VAT, cross-border and tax compliance, and the lack of changes to capital taxes and around the government's green agenda.

Authors: Tracey Wright, Erika Jupe, Mathew Oliver and David Nisbet

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What does it mean for employers?

Our regular Employment Law Coffee Break slot offers an extended focus on what the Budget 2021 means for employers, with its focus on the government's theme of protecting the "jobs and livelihoods" of the British people and as a long-term response to Covid-19. Our employment team looks at developments in the announcements around the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and other measures affecting employers, vaccinations, and what these measure mean for employers.

Authors: Kath Sadler-Smith and Catherine Shepherd

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Further changes to new IR35 legislation announced against backdrop of other compliance developments

Important changes to the new IR35 regime were announced in the Budget, including correction of an error in the 2020 Finance Act, a rule to target IR35 avoidance, obligations for intermediaries, and updated "fraudulent documentation" measures. Meanwhile, in addition to the announcements, there have been developments in relation to how companies plan for the new IR35 regime including use of insurance-backed checking services and umbrella companies, and the impact on M&A planning.

Authors: Frances Lewis, Kevin Barrow, Olivia Sinfield and Ian Hyde

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What did the chancellor have to say about pensions?

The chancellor's Budget will be seen as a mixed bag in relation to pensions, delivering disappointment for pensions savers, good news for employees of furlough and new potential investment opportunities for pension schemes.

Authors: Claire Rankin, Jennifer Alldridge

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Employee share schemes aspects and a call for evidence on EMI

One unexpected but welcome announcement was in relation to tax-advantaged enterprise management incentive options, with the government seeking views on how the EMI scheme is operating and whether it should be expanded. The EMI scheme is a much valued arrangement for qualifying companies, ideally suited to high-growth companies, although there are a number of technical aspects and areas of HMRC practice which could helpfully be clarified.

Authors: Michael Carter, Mairi Granville-George, Dan Sharman

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What about decarbonisation and the transition to net zero?

There were a lot of expectations that the Budget's announcements would centre on the transition to a net zero economy – weaving together themes such as the "build back better" movement and the green industrial revolution. In the end, there were few significant new announcements, although the launch of new funding for energy innovation, the much-trailed UK Infrastructure Bank and a 'green gilts' programme are all to be welcomed.

Authors: James Watson, Deborah Harvey, Dipika Keen, Caroline Bush

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Public procurement after Brexit – an update

9 March | 9-9.45am

Our Eating Compliance for Breakfast series, looks at public procurement following the UK-EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement, reserved contracts, social value, and the government’s recent procurement green paper.

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Attracting and retaining talent in the life science and health sector

11 March | 9-9.45am

With the demand for top talent in the life science and health sector becoming increasingly competitive, the need to hire the best talent and retain talent is even more urgent as businesses adapt to and grow amid the Covid-19 pandemic. This session will look at what to consider when hiring competitors, employment terms and entitlements, how to implement and enforce terms to protect goodwill, and the effective design, implementation and operation of share incentive schemes

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Business travel after Brexit – what can I do or not do?

16 March | 3-4pm

Before 1 January 2021, there were no restrictions on movement or activities that could be undertaken between the EU and the UK. Following the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, activities that can be undertaken as a visitor are less clear. A look at the new parameters of business travel, including permitted activities as a business visitor under the TCA; country restrictions, and case studies from Europe and the UK

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IR35 | Avoiding traps in the new regime for contract workers

16 March | 9-9.30am

Many companies will have started or nearly completed preparations for the revolutionary new IR35 tax regime for the use of contract workers. However, some are making errors in their compliance strategies. The Eating Compliance for Breakfast series looks at the 10 most common errors and how to avoid associated costs.

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Broadcast, production and digital content: The future of TV

18 March | 9-10am

A look at the impact of the pandemic on the broadcast, production and digital sector, technological shifts and market trends that are driving transformation, mergers and acquisition trends, and legal and regulatory issues to be aware of in the coming year.

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* This article is current as of the date of its publication and does not necessarily reflect the present state of the law or relevant regulation.

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