What Does the Autumn Budget Mean for Businesses?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, yesterday unveiled his Autumn Budget to Parliament, which grabbed the headlines with its announcements on stamp duty, housing, the NHS and the National Living Wage.

Amongst the headlines, however, there was some encouraging news for business owners and entrepreneurs, despite some of the continued uncertainty around Brexit.

One of the biggest talking points to be revisited from previous budgets was that of the cut to business rates. Plans to have business rates rise in line with the lower Consumer Price Index (CPI) measure of inflation instead of the Retail Price Index (RPI) have been brought forward by two years and will now take affect from April next year. The Chancellor said this move is going to be worth £2.3bn to businesses over the next five years.

Technology and innovation were at the heart of the Autumn Budget this year. To help the UK secure its future in digital and technological innovation, Hammond pledged to unlock more than £20bn of new investment in UK scale-up businesses in a bid to develop the UK’s digital industry, and have a new tech business founded “every half hour”. This was further cemented with the announcement that the government has set aside £2.3bn for investment in research and development for scale-up businesses across a number of industry sectors.

There was positive news with the announcement that the threshold at which small businesses start paying VAT will not be lowered from £85,000, although further consultations are still to take place in this regard.

Thousands of small business owners will also be celebrating the abolition of the so-called “staircase tax”, in which companies operating over several floors within the same property were handed separate business rates assessments for each occupied floor, as opposed to one bill for the entire premises. The Chancellor used the Autumn Budget yesterday to call time on this unpopular levy.

Much was also made of the government seemingly pushing ahead with previous Chancellor George Osbourne’s ‘Northern Powerhouse’, and the ‘Midlands Engine’, with the introduction of the new £1.7bn Transforming Cities Fund. The fund will target projects that drive productivity by improving connectivity, reducing congestion and utilising new mobility services and technology in northern cities such as Manchester and Liverpool.

Although there were winners and losers in the Autumn Budget there remains much to be positive about for business owners.  If you would like to talk about your exit or growth plans for the future please get in touch, and let Benchmark International’s experienced team help you understand your options.


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