Autumn Statement 2015: The Key Issues Impacting Small Business
Reformed business rates, increased funding to the North and clarity on the apprenticeship levy all announced during the Autumn Statement
Today, the chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne unveiled the 2015 Autumn Statement– outlining the conservative government’s latest plans for the UK economy over the coming months
Prior to the announcement, entrepreneurs called for more regional business support, initiatives to solve the UK’s skills shortage, boost access to finance and abolish Stamp Duty, and while not all wishes were granted – some were.
Here, we’ve pulled together the key factors from the statement that will influence small businesses…
Reformed business rates and small business rate relief
George Osborne announced that uniform business rates will be eliminated and local government will get to keep revenue from business rates by 2020. This, according to the chancellor, is in order to give councils “the tools to drive the growth of business in their area”.
Furthermore, the chancellor has announced that the small business rate relief will be extended for another year – to April 2017
Local Growth Fund and Enterprise Zones
The government will set aside £12bn for the Local Growth Fund and Osbourne has declared that they will create 26 new or extended Enterprise Zones, including 15 in towns and rural areas across the UK.
During the Summer Budget, Osbourne announced the government’s plans to increase the number of apprenticeships by three million in the next five years, which will be funded through an Apprenticeship Levy on larger employers. However no further details had been released and many companies had expressed concerns over what the new levy would entail.
Today the chancellor announced that, as of April 2017, employers will pay 0.5% of their wage bill towards the apprenticeship fund. The chancellor also announced that there will be a £15,000 allowance for employers – meaning only businesses with bills of over £3m will have to pay.
Funding for the Northern Powerhouse
According to Osborne, £400m will be pumped into a ‘Northern Powerhouse’ investment fund in order to “help small businesses to grow”.
The government will also invest £15m into trade missions that showcase business in Northern England and another £13bn to improve transport infrastructure in the North over the next five years.
Finally, the government has also promised to push more money into Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales for capital investment and infrastructure projects. This means funding will increase by 16% for Wales, 14% for Scotland and 12% for Northern Ireland.
Read the full report here.