'Twas the night before the Budget and all through the house, not a creature was stirring...
Well that's wrong for a start. People in the House (of Commons) have been stirring. Leaking all sorts of stories about what will be set out in this "fiscal event" for months now.
No-one in the Government can comment (officially) on tax rises, or cuts, or holidays outside of a fiscal event. Although we all have an inkling of what's coming, we cannot be sure, and so our corporate teams are bombed just in case CGT changes. The residential property teams are also under the cosh trying to get house sales over the line just in case the SDLT holiday is not extended. Employment lawyers are on standby to assess any furlough changes. Budget apprehension is an industry in itself.
Quite a few kites have been flown to see which way the commentators would blow. A supermarket levy; a parcel tax; a freeze on income tax thresholds. I think we are all just hoping that it's a Budget to aid the recovery, which has already been longer, slower and harder than any of us could have imagined. If Rishi isn't expected to bring you what you asked for tomorrow, order it online tonight and avoid that parcel tax. That's my excuse anyway.
It is understood that the Chancellor may extend the tax break for three months in line with other measures to support the economy. However, it is not yet known if the extension would apply to all purchases or would be on tapered basis, as lobbied by some in the building and mortgage industry.