20:20 Innovation logo

Home / Latest News And Updates / Guide to the General Election 2024 for Accountants

Guide to the General Election 2024 for Accountants

13 Jun 2024

As an accountant or tax professional, whether in practice or industry, you’ll have more than a passing interest in the UK political landscape and the upcoming 4 July 2024 general election. A change of government could spell widespread legislative reforms, tax upheaval and the introduction of new laws and policies that impact both you and your clients.

On all sides of the campaign trail politicians are pushing ahead with their election manifesto launches and setting their stall out to attract the voting public. No matter what your politics are, accountants are heavily impacted when a general election comes to fruition.

Over the pre-election period, this guide will be a continuously updated piece of content from the expert technical team at 20:20 Innovation. We’ll look in detail at both the potential and real-time impact of the general election 2024 on accounting practices nationwide.

If you are an accountant in practice or industry and would like more information about becoming a 20:20 Innovation member, why not book a free 30-minute demo with our team today.

Manifesto Launches for the Political Parties

In date order, the different parties have released their manifestos and areas of focus as follows:

The Liberal Democrats – 10 June 2024

With the headline of ‘For a Fair Deal’ the Liberal Democrats online manifesto promises a transformation in the nature of British politics.

The Conservative and Unionist Party – 11 June 2024

With a headline of ‘Clear Plan, Bold Action and Secure Future’ the Conservative party are, over 80 pages, pledging lower immigration, lower taxes and protected pensions. A tax system that incentivises businesses to invest is stated as at the heart of the economic plan. Specific support for small business is outlined in the document.

Key quote – “As Conservatives, we believe in lower taxes because people, not governments, make the best decisions about how to spend their money. But we can only ever cut taxes responsibly when we have a way to fund it sustainably, consistent with getting debt and borrowing down and in a way which does not send inflation spiralling.”

Parliamentary candidates for the UK general election 2024

The Green Party – 12 June 2024

The Green party have gone with the headline ‘Real Hope. Real Change’ and they pledge to create a greener, fairer country. Without doubt, they are the political party going hardest on taxation rises at this stage!

Labour – 13 June 2024

Change. A simple headline accompanied by a picture of the party leader, Kier Starmer. With 136 pages, five missions are set out to rebuild Britain.

Key tax quote – “Labour’s first steps will deliver economic stability with tough spending rules, so we can grow our economy and keep taxes, inflation and mortgages as low as possible.”

Plaid Cymru – 13 June 2024

For Fairness, For Ambition, For Wales.

Reform UK – 17 June 2024

Britain Needs Reform and Reform UK Needs You. The Reform UK ‘contract’ promises to secure Britain’s future as a free, proud and independent sovereign nation.

Scottish National Party (SNP) – 19 June 2024

‘A future made in Scotland’ is the headline for the SNP manifesto. It represents a core belief that decisions about Scotland should be made in Scotland through independence.

Houses of parliament in Westminster

Party Manifesto Tax Tracker

While we do not yet know who will form the next government, the following table summarises and compares the key tax measures as announced by Labour and the Conservative parties. Key fiscal announcements from the other political parties are detailed below the table.


Income Tax
Comparison: Same/similarThe basic, higher and additional rates of income tax will not be increased.Income tax rates will not be increased.

Pension reforms will be adopted alongside a review of the pensions landscape.
The tax-free allowance for pensioners to be brought into a new ‘Triple Lock Plus’. This pledges a rise equal to the highest of inflation, earnings or 2.5% by way of a new age-related personal allowance. This will apply from April 2025. The tax-free (or personal) allowance is currently frozen at £12,570 for all taxpayers until 6 April 2028.

No new taxes on pensions. Marginal rate relief and the 25% tax free lump sum will both be maintained.

No mention of the High Income Child Benefit Charge.
The High Income Child Benefit Charge to be assessed on a household basis, with the charge only starting to apply when combined income reaches £120,000. The charge would only reach the full amount of Child Benefit when household income exceeds £160,000. It is currently based on the highest earner in the household and whether their income exceeds £60,000.

National Insurance Contributions (NIC)

Comparison: The Conservative party are pledging reductions.
National Insurance will not be increased.

A further 2p reduction in the main rate of employee’s NIC. This is currently 8% and the Manifesto promises to cut this to 6% by April 2027.

NIC will not be extended to employer pension contributions.

Business Tax

Comparison: The Conservative party are pledging reductions.
A roadmap for business taxation for the next parliament will be published, enabling confident investment planning.
Further reductions in the main rate of self-employed Class 4 NIC. This is currently 6% and the Manifesto promises to abolish it altogether by the end of the next Parliament (no later than July 2029).

Full expensing and the annual investment allowance to be retained. There will be greater clarity on qualification criteria, to aid investment.
Extension of full expensing for expenditure on brand new plant and machinery, including in cases where the asset is leased to a third party. This will apply ‘once fiscal conditions allow’.
Corporation Tax

Comparison: Possible increases coming for smaller companies under Labour.
Corporation tax will be capped at the current main rate of 25% for the whole parliament. This perhaps hints at increases for companies with annual profits of less than £250,000 (as dividend by the number of associated companies), i.e. those currently benefiting from the small profits rate or marginal relief.
No increase in corporation tax.

Comparison: Same/similar albeit Labour’s private school plans are significant for some.

The rate of VAT will not be increased.

VAT will however be applied to private school fees. See the extended commentary below on VAT and private school fees.

The rate of VAT will not be increased.

The VAT registration threshold will be kept under review with options explored to smooth the cliff edge at the current £90,000 level.

Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

Comparison: Possible increases coming for investors under Labour. Certain increases within private equity.

No specific mention of CGT rates or reliefs.

The ’carried interest tax loophole’ will be closed. This relates to private equity executives that receive a stake in the funds they manage, rather than traditional remuneration.

CGT will not be increased.

Business Asset Disposal Relief will be retained.

Private Residence Relief will be maintained.

A new temporary 2 year CGT relief will be offered to landlords who sell their properties to their existing tenants.

Inheritance Tax

Comparison: Labour to impose IHT on offshore trusts.

No specific mention of IHT rates or reliefs.

The use of offshore trusts to avoid inheritance tax will be ended.

No specific mention of IHT rates or reliefs.

Agricultural Property Relief and Business Relief will be retained.

Stamp Duty Land Tax

Comparison: Increases under Labour for non-residents and possibly, down the line, for UK residents as well.
SDLT on purchases of residential property by non-UK residents will increase by 1%. This will increase the existing surcharge from 2% to 3%.

Rates and levels of SDLT will not be increased.

The first-time buyer threshold to be set permanently at £425,000. This is due to revert to £300,000 on 1 April 2025.

Specific tax issues

Non-domiciled individuals

Comparison: Likely same/similar
The non-domiciled status will be abolished and replaced with a modern scheme for people genuinely in the country for a short period.
Interestingly, no mention is made of the previously announced plans to curb non-domiciled individuals’ use of the remittance basis from April 2025.
Furnished holiday lets

Comparison: Likely same/similar
No indication given.
Councils will be given the powers needed to ‘manage the uncontrolled growth of holiday lets’. Beyond this, no further detail is given on the planned April 2025 reform to limit tax benefits.
SME growth initiatives

Comparison: Likely same/similar although no commitment from Labour.
No indication given.
The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) and Venture Capital Trusts (VCT) regimes will be retained.
Research & Development (R&D) and Creative tax reliefs

Comparison: Likely same/similar although no commitment from Labour.
No indication given.

R&D tax reliefs will be maintained. Priority will be given to cutting edge farming technology such as fertiliser and vertical farming.

Creative sector tax incentives to remain competitive.

HMRC resources

Comparison: Likely same/similar although Labour appear to be budgeting less to tackle avoidance
A promise to modernise HMRC and change the law to tackle tax avoidance. A £855 million investment to reduce tax avoidance.

Registration and reporting requirements will increase and HMRC’s powers will be strengthened.

There will be investment in technology to build capacity within HMRC.

There will be a renewed focus on tax avoidance by large businesses and the wealthy.

A further £6 billion a year will be raised by tackling tax avoidance and evasion over the next Parliament.

There is no specific commentary on funding for HMRC although there are pledges to double digital and AI expertise within the wider civil service.

Taxpayer digitalisation

Comparison: Likely same/similar
The Making Tax Digital (MTD) initiative does not get a mention in the manifesto.
The Making Tax Digital (MTD) initiative does not get a mention in the manifesto.
Other associated pledges

Comparison: Minimum wage cost increases under Labour.

A commitment to one major fiscal event a year, giving families and businesses due warning of tax and spending policies.

The minimum wage will be a genuine living wage and the age bands will be removed.

England’s business rates system to be replaced with a fairer model, levelling the playing field between the high-street and online ‘giants’. Business rates to apply to private schools.

A new plan to ‘Make Work Pay’ will overhaul HR practices.

A new windfall tax on oil and gas ‘giants’.

The National Living Wage will be maintained at two-thirds of median earnings.

A business rates support package worth £4.3 billion over the next 5 years.

More freeport and business rate retention zones will be created. Investment zones will continue to be backed.

Other parties and what they've said about taxation

The Liberal Democrats plan to make the case for increasing the global minimum rate of corporation tax to 21%. It must be noted that this exceeds the current UK small profits rate of 19%. Further, when public finances allow, the party plans to increase the income tax personal allowance.

The Green party pledge a blanket increase in the National Minimum Wage to £15 per hour, with the costs to small businesses offset by reducing their National Insurance payments. Their elected candidates will push for a new wealth tax for those with assets above £10 million and an alignment of the CGT rates with those used for income tax. Further they are campaigning for aligning the tax rates on investment income with the combined income and NIC rates paid on employment income. They pledge to remove the NIC upper earnings limit, meaning higher earning employees will pay main rate NICs on all of their employment earnings.

Plaid Cymru believe that Wales should have full control of economic levers and want the Senedd to have powers to set income tax bands and thresholds, as is the case in Scotland. The party’s MPs will campaign for capital gains tax to be equalises with income tax. They will investigate increasing NICs, introducing a wealth tax, further crack down on evasion and avoidance and abolish loopholes for non-domiciled individuals.

Reform UK promise tax cuts to make work pay. This includes increasing the personal allowance to £20,000 and increasing the threshold where the 40% higher rate starts to apply to £70,000. There are also pledged cuts to residential SDLT, with a reduction to 0% for properties below £750,000 and a 2% rate for properties costing £750,000 - £1.5m. The party also plans to reestablish the VAT refund scheme for tourist shopping and to abolish IHT for all estates valued at less than £2m, with the IHT rates for estates above that cut to 20%. For businesses, the small profits threshold for corporation tax would be lifted from £50,000 to £100,00, with the main rate of corporation tax reduced from 25% to 20% initially and then to 15% in 3 years’ time. IR35 would be abolished and the VAT Registration threshold increased to £150,000. There is an implied aspiration to reduce our tax legislation from over 21,000 pages to something closer to 500. Distinguishing themselves from Labour’s proposed VAT measure, Reform UK are promising no VAT and 20% income tax relief on school fees.

SNP MPs will demand the full devolution of tax powers, including over National Insurance, windfall taxation for companies and to crack down on tax avoidance and evasion. The party will support the reform of VAT to address imbalances in the rating system, including ending the VAT exemption for private schools and introducing a lower VAT rate for hospitality and tourism sectors.

Business operations will be impacted by tax upheaval

Enquire About 20:20 Innovation Membership

What is a manifesto and is an elected government held to it?

A manifesto is a public declaration of policy and aims. However, no government is legally held to their manifesto or required to stick to their stated promises. Circumstances will change over the coming parliament and the plans laid out today may or may not be suitable in 2029! Ultimately, the court of public opinion can influence and try to hold an elected government to their promises but ultimately, there is no guarantee.

Are the pledges affordable?

This is the big question around the campaign policies of the various political parties. Does the balance sheet balance?

While some of the associated funding needed is explained and outlined in the form of spending cuts and savings, the specific nature and knock-on effect of these is not always clear, particularly in relation to public services. The tax packages outlined above should be judged in the context of affordability and a wider holistic view of the impact on UK citizens of all ages and backgrounds.

Downing Street sign

Will we have a post-election Budget?

If, after the 4 July election, we have a change in political power, it is likely the new party will set out their plans in a first or 'emergency' budget, with such an event likely to take place in September or October, after the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) has had 10 weeks to prepare independent forecasts. The challenge will then be for any new Chancellor to properly 'balance the books'.

VAT on private school fees - extended commentary

One of the Labour party’s most highly-publicised pre-election messages is their promise to make private school fees subject to VAT. This is likely to increase the cost of sending a child to private school by 20%. The manifesto does not indicate whether the measure would take effect from the start of the new 2024/25 academic year or at a later date.

At 20:20 Innovation, it has been brought to our attention that private schools are offering parents an opportunity to avoid the VAT charge by paying their children’s school fees in advance. One parent even noted that the school’s offer included small print saying that if legislation were introduced meaning VAT were actually due on the fees, the parent would pay that VAT due. This is confusing: why would parents pay school fees upfront if they were going to have to pay VAT on them anyway?

The answer is straightforward, in that the school is covering itself in case anti-forestalling legislation is introduced. Anti-forestalling measures are a type of anti-avoidance legislation and aim to prevent artificially manipulating dates (or tax points in the case of VAT) in order to avoid a higher tax charge. Generally speaking, when a higher tax charge is set to take effect from a given date, anti-forestalling measures are introduced to counter potential avoidance.

The VAT legislation tells us how to determine the tax point for services such as education. In short, if a service is incomplete or ongoing, a tax point arises when an invoice is issued. If a private school issued an invoice in June 2024 for education provided in the 2028/29 academic year, then the service’s tax point would be in June 2024 and the invoice would be VAT exempt, even if a future Labour Government subsequently make private education subject to VAT at 20%.

It is, however, likely that anti-forestalling measures would be introduced to ensure that private education actually provided after a certain date would be subject to VAT, regardless of whether a tax point had previously arisen. If this happens, due to the small print, the parent who had paid in advance would be required to pay the VAT due.

If you have any clients who have been affected by this issue, it is worth explaining the risks of paying fees upfront; it possibly isn’t as beneficial to them as they might expect.

Voting public heading to polling stations

Can 20:20 Innovation help post-election?


This will start on 15 July 2024, with our webinar 'Finance (No 2) Act 2024 and Post Election Tax Review'. Renowned expert Rebecca Benneyworth will consider the promises made by the party that forms a new government and the immediate implications for taxation compliance, planning and advice.

We will also provide ongoing commentary and guidance in our Monthly Tax Update and Practice Insight webinar series.

In the event of a post-election Budget, we will stand ready with our usual and highly-regarded range of Budget support. This includes our branded Budget PDF newsletter for accountants in practice to provide to their clients and our rapid reaction webinar, aimed exclusively at accountants in practice and designed to complement the newsletter and equip them to advise their clients on the subjects discussed in the newsletter.

If you are an accountant in practice or industry and would like more information about becoming a 20:20 Innovation member, why not book a free 30-minute demo with our team today.

Related news and content:

Listing image for Accounting CPD Compliance: A Mid-Year Review content

12 Jun 2024

Accounting CPD Compliance: A Mid-Year Review


20:20 Innovation looks at the CPD landscape for accountants, 6 months after the ICAEW announced new CPD rule c...

Listing image for Branding for accountants: Strategies for success content

05 Jun 2024

Branding for accountants: Strategies for success


For accounting firms a strong brand identity sets you apart from the competition. This comprehensive guide fro...

Listing image for General Election on 4 July 2024 – what could it mean for tax? content

23 May 2024

General Election on 4 July 2024 – what could it mean for tax?


On 22 May, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that a general election will take place on 4 July 2024, trigge...