Little Pain Relief For Dentistry In Budget 2024

Little Pain Relief For Dentistry In Budget 2024

Budgets are primarily about raising revenue. Not spending it.  But how and what is raised ultimately determines what is spent.  And after years of crying for additional funding, the 2024 budget left dental professionals who deliver NHS contracts feeling decidedly overlooked.

Few events have the capacity to pack the Commons chamber more than the annual Budget statement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.  And in an election year, the atmosphere can reach fever pitch as MPs wait for an electioneering rabbit to be plucked from the Chancellor’s hat. 

This year’s budget had been strategically well leaked. 2p was lopped off employee NI contributions and vaping is to be taxed. Fuel duty’s frozen and the demands of the ’great British pub’ are being listened to.  But there was no rabbit.  

The NHS was better off following Mr Hunt’s statement. An additional £3.4BN  is being pumped in to fund the ’Productivity Plan’ designed to improve health service IT systems and in turn, free up Drs and nurse’s time. But for the dental workforce, and the millions of patients unable to access it, perhaps unsurprisingly, there was no extra money for what the BDA calls a ’properly funded’ dental service.

If Labour wins the next election, which the polls suggest is highly likely, it was proposing to tax so-called ’non-doms’ to raise a couple of billion pounds.  This revenue was earmarked for the NHS to invest in diagnostic equipment and, to the incredulity of many dentists, to fund an additional 700,000 appointments.

Yesterday, however, Chancellor Hunt stole Labour’s clothes.  He’s now going to change the rules governing the taxation of non-doms.  But the proceeds aren’t going to dentistry - or even to the NHS. 

Labour, unless it has a change of heart and identifies a new revenue stream, will now have to return to the drawing board over how to secure additional funding for the NHS. And 700,000  extra dental appointments.

The Budget And Practice Owners

GDPUK approached Michael Lansdell of leading dental accountants Figurit for a prima facie assessment of the personal impact of the budget for dental practice owners. He thought that Jeremy Hunt’s decision to reduce the self-employed National Insurance rate from 8% to 6% might entice some practice owners to re-evaluate their legal status. 

According to Lansdell  “The increase last year in corporation tax from 19% to 25%, coupled with this new reduction in National Insurance on the self-employed, means that dentists who are already incorporated need to check whether being a limited company is still the best legal structure from a tax point of view, or whether a return to being a sole trader or partnership may make more tax sense.”

The budget measures will also impact property investments.  Commenting on the reduction in the 28% rate of CGT to 24% on the sale of residential property Mr Lansdell said  “the government hopes that higher mortgage rates, coupled with this this change, will make it more attractive for landlords to sell their properties, thus freeing up property for first-time and other buyers, which the Conservatives have for a long time believed is a vote winner.  

What this means for renters in the market is unclear, however, as the stock of rental properties falls still further”.

Iain Stevenson, Head of Dental at Wesleyan Financial Services, said: On the National Insurance cut:

“The cut to National Insurance will put more money back into the pockets of both salaried and self-employed dentists – something hugely valuable at a time when the cost of living is still high. Salaried dentists will see the rate they pay on earnings between £12,570 and £50,270 drop from 10% to 8%. Meanwhile, self-employed practitioners will see the amount they pay on profits between £12,570 and £50,270 drop from 9% to 6%.

“However, for a second time in a row, employer national insurance contributions remain unchanged. It means practices, which are still facing rising operating costs across the board, still haven’t had any support when it comes to increasing staffing costs. We would have liked to see some relief extended to them too.”


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