Spring Budgets seem to be going out with something of a whimper. Yesterday’s was one of the smallest I can remember in pretty much every dimension – number of policies, scale of policies and size of fiscal impact.

I’m not complaining, mind. There will be another Budget in November and the whole point of moving to a single fiscal event a year was to avoid the temptation to do too much fiddling. I presume that bigger changes will come later this year. We will see. I also rather like the promised consultations. That we are to get a consultation on business rates rather than diving in to change immediately is a good thing. As is further consultation on treatment of the self employed. It is perhaps harder to welcome further consultation on the funding of social care, much though a clear long term strategy is needed. We have had strategy after consultation after commission on this. As Elvis said “a little less conversation, a little more action please”.

As to the content there were only two tax changes of any substance – the increase to self employed NICs and the reduction in the tax free allowance for dividend payments. The former is a modest but welcome change designed to shore up the tax base and create a slightly less unequal playing field between the self employed and employees.

The latter reflected the concern that if you increase tax on the self employed you increase their incentive to incorporate. It undoes most of a change introduced less than a year ago.