Three small wins for landowners and waste management in the new budget

Author: Travis Benn Read time: 3 mins
Client type: Independent landowners Technology: Landfill gas
Back to Blog

Philip Hammond’s budget announcement last week may be underwhelming and uneventful for some, but with the impending uncertainty of Brexit. But this much is clear: he’s trying to leave himself some space to tackle whatever changes our EU departure will bring next year. 

And there were some positives to note: it looks like landowners might have a few pennies left in their accounts, along with a new tax to benefit waste management companies.

While there were no changes to the tax rate, Hammond’s fulfilling the Conservative manifesto by raising the personal allowance to £12,500 and highering taxpayers’ threshold to £50,000 (currently £46,351) in April 2019—one year earlier than planned.

That’s good news for self-employed farmers as their allowance will increase by £650, nearly double the increase we saw at the beginning of this tax year.

Landowners will also be able to deduct two per cent of the cost of any new non-residential structures and buildings off their profits before tax.

Landowners with small farms who employ apprentices will see some relief too, as Hammond promises to halve the apprenticeship levy contributions for smaller businesses from 10 per cent to five per cent.

On the other hand, the National Minimum Wage will increase by five per cent to £8.21 (currently £7.83), “more than the sector expected” by the NFU.

We’ve written about developments in plastic reform and targets that the Circular Economy Package has set before and under the Plastic Pact managed by WRAP. And in Hammond’s latest announcement, it seems the government is listening to the advice. 

Hammond says that the government will be taxing plastic producers if their packaging contains less than 30 per cent of recycled plastics. It’s received mixed responses in the waste management community. But overall, it is seen as a step in the right direction,

with the Environmental Services Association’s (ESA) Executive Director, Jacob Hayler, saying it is the ‘most effective way’ to ensure the right incentives for recycling, rather than penalise Energy from Waste.

Hammond also committed to giving £10m to dumped waste and committed to reform the Packaging Producer Responsibility on the waste front. But, although announced against the backdrop of ‘austerity coming to an end,’ his sentiments are caged in ambiguous and cautious tones. Until there’s clarity on the Brexit deal, all of this is subject to change, and if, for example, we’re left with a no-deal EU exit, we could be discussing the terms of a completely new budget next spring.