When Alistair Darling stands up in the House of Commons on 22 April, he will be delivering his Budget speech against the backdrop of one of the worst post-war recessions, if not the worst.

Last December’s reduction in VAT from 17.5 per cent to 15 per cent has had a measurable effect on consumer spending, a think tank has claimed.

As well as changes to the rules governing employers and businesses, this April's common commencement date also introduces some amendments to the tax system.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has expressed its dismay at learning that the government intends to go ahead with plans to drop the VAT staff hire concession as from 1 April.

Under normal circumstances, the provision of a package of benefits by an organisation, in return for a membership subscription, would take the VAT treatment of the principal benefit, the other benefits being treated as ancillary.

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