Despite there been very little of direct relevance to retail in the Spring Budget, there were still a number of announcements to be aware of. Below is a short summary of the main announcements and the key points from the OBR's economic forecasts

Economic outlook

  • Interest rates remain high, but progress on inflation means we can now help families with temporary CoL support and permanent tax cuts.
  • Lower taxes mean higher growth, which means more opportunity, prosperity and public service funding.
  • Need to build high growth, high skilled economy – grow GDP per head.
  • Policies today mean more investment, lower taxes in a budget for long term growth.
  • OBR forecast: Inflation – 4%, show it falling below 2% in a few months’ time. Real household income projected to rise 0.8% this year.
  • Headline debt to fall to 92.9% by 2028/29, £8.9bn underlying headroom this year.
  • IMF – UK growth to outstrip Germany, France and Italy over next five years.


Taxes and household finances

  • Employee NICs cut by another 2p, from 10% to 8%. Government will continue to cut NICs ‘as / when we can without borrowing’.
  • Alcohol duty – freeze extended until Feb. 2025.
  • Childcare provider rates guaranteed by Government over next two years, as part of free childcare scheme announced last year.
  • Excise Duty on vaping products from Oct. 26, consultation coming – one-off increase in Tobacco Duty implemented concurrently to ensure that 'vaping remains the incentivised option'.
  • Child benefits – consultation on moving high income benefit charge to household-based system by April 2026; from April 2024, the high income threshold will rise to £60,000 with taper increasing to £80,000.
  • Budgeting advance loans – repayment period from 12 to 24 months.
  • Debt relief orders - £90 charge abolished.
  • Household support fund – extended at current levels for another 6 months.
  • Business rates - the Empty Property Relief 'reset period' will be extended from six to 13 weeks from 1 April 2024. 


  • Fuel duty – 5p cut maintained, fuel duty frozen for another 12 months.
  • Full expensing – will now apply to leased assets.
  • £200m funding to extend recovery long scheme into growth guarantee scheme.
  • Increase VAT registration threshold to £90,000 in April.
  • Unlock more pension fund capital, more powers to FCA and Pensions Regulator, easier for pension funds to invest in UK start-ups (aiming to encourage more tech companies to base themselves in UK). ISA system reform, retail banking reform to encourage more investment in UK equity.

Devolution and regional funding

  • North East trailblazer devolution deal, package of support worth £100m.
  • Powers devolved to Warwickshire, Surrey, Bucks.
  • £100m of levelling up funding allocated across country.
  • £400m of funding to extend the Long Term Plan for Towns to 20 new places inc. Darlington, Runcorn, Rhyl, Arbroath – funding to invest in community regeneration.
  • £5m funding over next three years for Agri-Food Launchpad in Mid and North Wales