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What the autumn statement offers small businesses

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George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, delivered his autumn statement on Tuesday in the House of Commons. The statement was made in order to review the UK’s finances since the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition began and to announce any changes to the existing plans.

The changes that will affect small-to-medium sized businesses

You can read the full autumn statement here. In the meantime, find the following breakdown of the key points most relevant for your business:

  • The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) doesn’t predict another UK recession, but it has revised its growth predictions down.
  • A National Loan Guarantee Scheme will be introduced, making up to £20 billion of bank funding made available over two years. This will allow banks to offer lower cost lending to smaller businesses with a turnover of less than £50 million.
  • An initial £1 billion will be made available through a Business Finance Partnership, which will be invested into small-to-medium sized businesses in the UK through non-banking channels.
  • Employment laws will be reviewed. A ‘rapid resolution’ scheme will be implemented to provide a quick and cheap alternative to tribunal hearings in simple cases.
  • A call for evidence on the impact of reducing the collective redundancy process for redundancies of 100 or more staff from the current 90 days to 60, 45 or 30 days will be completed.
  • There'll be a call for evidence on two proposals: First, Government will seek views on the introduction of compensated no-fault dismissal for micro-businesses with fewer than 10 employees. Second, the Government will look at how it could move to a simpler, quicker and clearer dismissal process.
  • Government will launch a new Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) from April 2012, offering 50% income tax relief on investments.
  • The business rate holiday for small firms will be extended to April 2013.
  • The 3.03 pence per little fuel duty increase due to take effect on 1 January 2012 will be cancelled. It will come on 1 August 2012 instead, replacing a planned rise of 1.92 pence per litre originally scheduled for that date.

Quite a few of these proposals will really be a help for small businesses that are starting up and growing. However, a number of these measures include calls for reviews or research to be done, which could mean that actual, tangible results may take a long time to filter through.

 

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