What small businesses need to know about the Autumn Statement

UK Chancellor George Osborne recently unveiled the Government’s 2015 Autumn Statement. Here are the new economic policies small businesses should keep in mind as we move into 2016.

Start ups

The Government revealed that it will aim to create 75,000 Start Up Loans by 2020; a move which is designed to fund the growth of more start up enterprises throughout the UK. Click here to find out how to apply for a Start Up Loan.

Tax goes digital

Having been announced in the March Budget, Mr Osbourne outlined how the digitisation of small business tax and tax returns will be implemented. The Government will invest £1.3 billion to “transform” HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) into “one of the most digitally advanced tax administrations in the world.” Small businesses will have access to digital tax accounts by 2017, and the majority will be required to record their tax affairs digitally by 2020.

Northern Powerhouse

He also said that the Government, the British Business Bank and Local Enterprise Partnerships will come together to create a £400 million “Northern Powerhouse” investment fund. It will be designed to provide the financial support small companies in the North of England need to aid expansion. Whitehall will also invest £13 billion to update transport infrastructure in the region by 2020, and devote £15 million to fund trade missions that will showcase businesses in the North of England.

Apprenticeship Levy

Mr Osborne used the Statement to explain how the Government’s planned Apprenticeship Levy, which is designed to bring about “huge reform to raise the skills of the nation,” will effect UK small businesses. He said that starting from April 2017, the levy will be set at 0.5% of an employer’s wage bill. This policy will only apply to employers’ pay bills over £3 million, meaning it will effect just 2% of UK companies.

Enterprise Zones

The Chancellor revealed that the Government will establish 26 new Enterprise Zones. This will include the redevelopment of eight existing Zones and 15 brand new Zones, designed to spread the benefit to 108 towns and rural areas across the UK. Click here to find the list of new Enterprise Zones.

Small business rate relief

The Government has previously doubled small business rate relief, and this policy was due to end at the start of April 2016. The Chancellor revealed that it will now be extended to April 2017. According to Startups.co.uk, the Government is said to be reviewing current business rate relief; the results of this review are set to be announced in the 2016 budget.

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