The 2008 Pre-Budget Report presents updated assessments and forecasts of the economy and public finances, and reports on how in the face of major global economic shocks the Government intends to support the economy, businesses and households through these uncertain times while delivering its long-term goals. Measures announced include: temporarily reducing the Value Added Tax (VAT) rate to 15 per cent from1 December 2008 to 31 December 2009; bringing forward £3 billion of capital spending from 2010-11 including introducing a green stimulus supporting low carbon growth and jobs; introducing a new additional higher rate of income tax of 45 per cent for those with incomes above £150,000 from April 2011; increasing national insurance contributions by 0.5 per cent from April 2011; increasing alcohol and tobacco duties; a two pence per litre increase in fuel duty from 1 December). Immediate action to help those individuals and businesses most affected by the economic downturn include: increases in the income tax personal allowance; bringing forward the increase in Child Benefit; increases of the Child Tax Credit and a payment of £60 to all pensioners; help through mortgage rescue and Support for Mortgage Interest schemes for eligible homeowners in difficulty and a commitment from major mortgage lenders not to initiate repossession action within at least three months of an owner-occupier going into arrears; an additional £1.3 billion to support for the unemployed to find a new job; measures to help small and medium-sized enterprises facing credit constraints; a new HMRC Business Payment Support Service to allow businesses in temporary financial difficulty to pay their HMRC tax bills on a timetable they can afford; and more generous tax relief for businesses now making losses and the modification of a number of planned tax reforms, including vehicle excise duty, air passenger duty, and the deferral of the increase in the small companies’ rate of corporation tax.
This Command Paper was laid before Parliament by a Government Minister by Command of Her Majesty. Command Papers are considered by the Government to be of interest to Parliament but are not required to be presented by legislation.