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What the Spring Budget Means for Postgraduate Students

The chancellor has delivered another budget statement, but what does it mean for you this time? We break it down and explain it could affect your education as well as your general student life.


PhD Opportunities

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Thinking of studying a PhD? Now has never been a better time, as the chancellor has announced £300m worth of investment to encourage people into education.

£90m will be spent on providing 1,000 new PhD places in the areas of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM subjects basically).

The rest of the money will be spent on creating fellowships to attract the top students into science areas including bioscience and biotechnology, quantum technologies and space technology.

In addition to this, the chancellor has said retraining was an important element for the labour market, and promised an additional £40m for new schemes which will test different approaches to lifelong learning.


Loans for Doctoral Students

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While there’s currently a postgraduate loan for masters’ students, nothing has been put in place for doctoral students…until now. The government will now be offering loans up to the value of £25,000 in order to help doctoral students


National Wage Increase

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As promised in his previous statement, the chancellor has said the national wage for anyone over the age of 25 will increase to £7.50 an hour from April. This is great news if you’re a prospective postgraduate student who was hoping to work alongside their studies.

In addition to this, personal allowances will also rise in April to £11,500, meaning if you earn less than this per year, you won’t have to pay income tax either!


Self Employed Contributions Rises

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It’s not such good news if you’re an entrepreneurial student. From April, anyone who’s self-employed that makes over £8,060 profit a year will have to pay more national insurance contributions over the next few years.

Rising from 9% to 10% in April 2018, there will then be an additional 1% rise in 2019. This is expected to affect 2.84m self-employed workers, who will be paying out an extra £240 a year.

However, Class 2 National Insurance, a separate payment from self-employed workers making a profit of more than £5,965 a year, is to be scrapped in April.


Money Saving Options

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In a bid to get you saving rather than spending your pennies, the government will be introducing a savings product called the Investment Guaranteed Growth Bonds. Although this was also initially announced in the Autumn Statement, the Spring Budget gave out more solid details of the plan.

The bonds will be provided by the by National Savings and Investments from April this year, and will pay an interest of 2.2%. You’ll be able to invest between £100-£3,000 and you won’t be allowed to touch it for at least three years.

Although the chancellor has described this idea as market leading, some are already arguing that it’s very similar to a best-buy three-year bond that’s currently available, and don’t seem massively impressed by the whole thing.

There will also be a new Lifetime Individual Savings Account (LISA) set up. Aimed at people aged between 18-40, you’ll be able to save up to £4,000 in these accounts, and the government will give you an additional 25% if you use those savings to either buy a home or if it’s used as part of your pension when you’re 60 years old or over.

In addition to this, savers with an Individual Savings Account (ISA) can now save up to £20,000 in their account tax-free instead of the previous amount of £15,240.


Netflix and Cancel

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Subscriptions to services like Amazon, Sky and Netflix can be a godsend when you’re a student looking to chill out after a long day, but because finances are tight and something needs to go, your beloved movie, music and general entertainment subscriptions often don’t last beyond the free trial. But some companies can make it really difficult to say goodbye, and some don’t even tell you your free trial has ended in the first place.

The chancellor has therefore responded to recent criticism about companies who make it difficult to cancel subscriptions or don’t inform people well enough that they’re now paying for services, by agreeing to consider it in the Green Paper in the summer.


Want to know how this compares to the Autumn Budget? Here’s how that affected you



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