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The Chancellor’s Budget 2018 - What does it mean for businesses?

 


The Big Numbers:

 

£900m
of immediate business rates relief for small retailers
4.9%
Increase in National Living Wage
£71.5m
additional funding for WM from the Transforming Cities Fund
£1m
temporary increase in the Annual Investment Allowance from 2019


Office for Budgetary Responsibility Predictions:

 

800,000
extra people in work by 2022
2%
rate of inflation for 2019
1.3%
Expected GDP Growth in 2018
£25.5bn
Forecast Government Borrowing This Year

 

Need to Know: Changes Due from 2019

The Annual Investment Allowance will increase to £1m (from £200,000) for two years from January 2019

The National Living & National Minimum Wage rates from April 2019:

  • National Living Wage: £8.21 per hour
  • National Minimum Wage for 20-21 year olds: £7.70 per hour
  • National Minimum Wage for 18-20 year olds: £6.15 per hour
  • National Minimum Wage for 16-17 year olds: £4.35 per hour
  • National Minimum Wage for Apprentices: £3.70 per hour

The minimum qualifying period for entrepreneurs relief will increase from 12 months to 24 months from April 2019.

Business rates for retail properties will be reduced by one third for two years for properties with a rateable value below £51,000 from April 2019.

Fromm April 2019, the capital allowances special rate for qualifying plant and machinery assets will be reduced from 8% to 6%.

 

What does the Autumn Budget 2018 Mean for Your Business?

The Autumn Budget 2018 included a raft of announcements for businesses, many positive including investment incentives, business rates relief and investment in transport infrastructure. Find out what the Autumn Budget 2018 means for your business

 

What is the Chambers’ Position?

Business Rates

Whilst it’s good to see the Government easing the business rate burden for SMEs based on the high street, the policy makers are simply tinkering at the edges of a fraying system. Clearly more reform is needed if we are to fully modernise an outmoded tax which is destroying profit margins and ultimately inhibiting growth. Particularly around restructuring the appeal system to reduce bureaucracy, remodelling the relief system to increase accessibility and removing plant and machinery from the rating system.

Transport & Infrastructure

We welcome the commitment to improving our transport networks across the full spectrum of the Strategic Road Network, Major Road Network and for local roads in order to fix potholes, renew bridges and tunnels. Greater investment will not only lead to greater connectivity but also provide a much needed shot in the arm to productivity levels.

The West Midlands

While there were plenty of positive announcements for businesses in the Budget, there was one glaring omission from the Chancellor’s speech: any mention of the West Midlands. While devolved nations, the Northern Powerhouse and beyond received a number of nods, the news for the West Midlands was buried in the the Budget Red Book. It is clear from today’s announcements that there is still work to be done on promoting further devolution to English regions which still lag behind devolved nations and London on funding.

Business Taxation & Support

Many businesses will welcome the news on the increase to the Annual Investment Allowance (something the British Chambers of Commerce has been lobbying for for some time), postpoing implementation of IR35 Reform to 2020 and confirmation that VAT Thresholds will not be changed for the next two years.

Brexit

The news on additional funding to support Brexit preparations is also a sensible move given where we are in negotiations. However, it is crucial that part of that funding is targeted at front line support for businesses preparing for the impact of Brexit. There was no mention at all of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (the Government’s preferred model for replacing ESIF Funding post-Brexit). As Brexit looms ever closer it is crucial that the Government provides clarity on how this fund will operate, many employer growth and skills related programmes are currently funded by ESIF.

Apprenticeships

We welcome the news that small firms’ contribution to apprenticeships will halve. Apprenticeships represent a real opportunity for firms looking to train and upskill employees and for those looking for vocational routes into work. Today’s announcement reduces one barrier preventing small firms from accessing apprenticeships. However, the system remains complicated to navigate and further reforms will be needed in order to ensure businesses can understand and access it effectively.

Armed Forces

The Budget included a significant package of support for the armed forces and veterans. As signatories of the Armed Forces Covenant we welcome the support shown for our armed forces and veterans.

The GBCC Policy & Strategic Relationships Team can be contacted about their work, sponsoring reports, commissioning research and participation in GBCC campaigns on 0121 607 1868 or emailing policy@birmingham-chamber.com