Following the announcement of Brexit, this Autumn Statement particularly has been put under the microscope by experts. In this roundup blog post, we’ve compiled the key policies announced that business owners need to be aware of.
1. £400m to fuel business growth
Chancellor of the exchequer, Phillip Hammond, outlined the government’s plans to pledge £400m to invest in start-ups with the potential to become scale-ups. This injection will come from the British Business Bank and is planned to encourage businesses to grow rather than exit to a large firm.
This month, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) released its data on self-employment across the UK. The statistics span 20 years and reveal a lot about how the UK’s entrepreneurial landscape has evolved, both over the decades and in recent years.
2. Tax Changes
- In January 2017, the government will publish its response to the ‘Making Tax Digital’ consultations. This will require small businesses to submit quarterly updates on their tax information to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
- Corporation Tax (currently 20%) will fall to 17%, the lowest rate in the G20.
- The government has also pledged to crackdown on “inappropriate use” of the VAT flat rate scheme and tackle other “disguised remuneration schemes” used by the self-employed.
- Looking ahead to 2020, the government announced plans to raise the tax-free personal allowance to £12,500 and higher rate tax threshold will be £50,000 by the end of this parliament.
3. Relief Announcements
- From 6 April 2017, the amount of investment social enterprises aged up to seven years old can raise through Social Investment Tax Relief scheme will increase to £1.5m.
- Rural business rates relief will increase from 50% to 100% in April 2017 which the government says will save countryside companies up to £2,900 a year.
4. Regional Support
- The government will award £1.8bn to Local Enterprise Partnerships in England, with funding used to improve transport connections, unlock house building, boost skills and enhance digital connectivity. £556m will go to the North of England, £392m to the Midlands, £151m to the east of England, £492m to London and the South East, and £191m to the South West. The funding is aimed at improving transport connections, unlocking house building, boosting skills, and enhancing digital connectivity.
- Every city in Scotland is due to benefit from a City Deal. This will give the city and its surrounding area certain powers and freedom to take charge and responsibility of decisions that affect their area and do what they think is best to help businesses grow.
- To close productivity gaps between the rest of England and London, across all regions there will be extra investment into local infrastructure. This will include a £1.8bn allocation from the local growth fund for English regions.
5. National Minimum & National Living Wage
Although there were rumors that the National Living Wage (NLW) would be reduced or even scrapped, the Chancellor announced that the NLW would increase from £7.20 to £7.50.
There will also be an additional £4.3m investment made by the government to strengthen enforcement of the National Minimum Wage. This will include support targeted specifically at small businesses to help them to comply.
Over £1bn will be invested by 2020-2021 to bring faster and more reliable broadband to homes and businesses across the UK in the form of full-fibre communications and 5G communications.
This will be delivered through a new £400m Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund over the next four years and 100% business rates relief for new full-fibre infrastructure for a five-year period from 1 April 2017 to support roll out to more businesses.
The capital UK Export Finance invests in supporting businesses in trading overseas will be doubled.
Hammond announced the launch of a new £23bn National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF). The fund will be introduced to provide "major additional spending" to specific areas in a bid to boost productivity. This will include investment in transport, digital communications, research & development and housing.
The government will also provide an additional £13m to support firms' plans to improve their management skills by implementing Sir Charlie Mayfield's review of business productivity. You can read more about Sir Charlie Mayfield’s findings here.
9. Fuel Duty
For the seventh consecutive year, fuel duty will remain frozen. This will save the average driver around £130 a year.
If you rent property or have a business in the housing industry, then this change will impact you. Fees charged to tenants by lettings agents will be banned “as soon as possible”.
If you are interested in starting up your own business, visit our registration page to apply for or register your interest in obtaining a start-up loan to get your business idea of the ground.