Blog: Budget 2018: Could the shackles be removed from pension scheme investments?

Halloween treat

Despite the Halloween scare stories around cuts to tax relief on contributions and to the annual and lifetime allowance, it was good to see that pensions remain untouched – for the time being at least.

The pensions dashboard, putting all your pension savings at your fingertips, appears to have been given a big boost with a £5 million injection from the Treasury to the Department of Work and Pensions, quashing rumours that the project would be scrapped.

We also learnt that the DWP will be publishing a paper on the governments approach to self-employed pensions. We all know that pension savings for the self-employed are pitifully low, so let’s see what bright ideas they come up with.

The interesting proposal to consult on large Defined Contribution schemes to be allowed to invest in “patient capital” is welcome. We’ve long since championed the option that SMEs should consider utilising their own pension savings to help back their own entrepreneurial endeavours, albeit with strict checks and balances in place. This collective approach makes sense on the face of it and further strengthens the argument that pension investment need not be only constrained to “traditional” asset classes.

A welcome relief

Entrepreneurs relief was mercifully left largely untouched, yet again bucking the rumour mill mutterings. The qualification period has increased from 12 months to 24 months, which is largely tinkering around the edges of a valuable relief.

Tax surprise

The surprise announcement, I guess, was the acceleration of the increase to the basic and higher rate tax thresholds to £12,500 & £50,000 respectively from April 2019. That’s a nice early Christmas present – well Easter actually!

Deal or no deal

The elephant in the room of course is Brexit – deal or no deal. Like the TV show, there are some big stakes in play. Let’s hope the Treasury’s winning box is the £250,000 and not the 50p.