Having only just got over the shock of the Brexit result (just about) and Theresa May's decision to hold a snap election, the country is once again plunged into uncertainty as the Election Results for 2017 reveal a shocking outcome for the Conservative party. What was meant to be a straightforward win for the current Prime Minister – or so she thought – has instead ended in the humiliation of a hung parliament. As a result of this, Mrs May and the rest of her party face the prospect of having to form a minority government – a far cry from the majority vote and 'stronger mandate' she was hoping for.
In comparison, the election has been somewhat of a victory for Jeremy Corbyn and the labour party, who have gained a considerable number of seats across the UK, including Sheffield Hallam which was previously held by the former leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg.
To form a minority government, Theresa May will require the assistance of the Democratic Unionist Party, who she says will work together having "enjoyed a strong relationship over many years". Were anything to happen, however, the Tories will not have the 326 seats required for a majority to pass a legislative programme.
Labour, in the meantime, will likely turn their efforts to forming their own minority government. After all, if the Conservative's plan doesn't pan out the way they want it to, Jeremy Corbyn could yet become Prime Minister. The question is where does this leave the dental profession?
Before the results were even properly announced we saw a fall in the value of the sterling compared to the dollar and the Euro. Between the uncertainty of a hung parliament and speculation about how the final result will impact Brexit negotiations moving forward, we are once again faced with the prospect of higher imported goods' prices and an increase in overheads.
As for how dental practices, along with other small businesses will be affected by the whole thing, it is not yet clear what the future holds. What we do know, however, is that if May is successful in forming an alliance with DUP, there will be a number of changes made to taxation throughout 2017 into 2020. Personal Allowance, for instance, would rise to £12,500 as planned, as would the Higher Rate Threshold, which Mrs May has promised would increase to £50,000 by 2020. With scheduled reductions also due to take place to Corporation Tax (CT) if the Tories stay in, it is clear that dentists would have much to gain from a Conservative government. In regards to pensions, dentists must consider how proposed changes would affect their financial planning moving forward.
In the event that Jeremy Corbyn steps in and tries to run a minority government or form a coalition, it could be somewhat of a mixed bag. Indeed, while Labour's promise to review business rates and bring in a small profits rate of CT for SMEs would no doubt be welcomed by many in the profession, increases in Income Tax for those earning over £80,000 certainly wouldn't be, nor would an increase in CT for larger businesses.
Brexit, in the meantime, is scheduled to go ahead as planned, so the best any of us can do is wait and see what happens!
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