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Spring Statement 2018: A brief summary for businesses

13/03/2018 / Comments 0

Spring Statement 2018

Today the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond, presented his first Spring Statement to Parliament.

Due to the shift to annual Treasury reporting, the Spring Statement was not as in-depth or wide-ranging as an annual Budget.

Instead, the role of the speech was to give an update on the overall health of the economy and the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts, inform as to the progress made since Autumn Budget 2017 and invite people and businesses to give views on changes the government is considering.

But, it seemed that the Chancellor spent more time talking about Labour than he did actually reporting on the economy.

That said, there were a few snippets of information that businesses might like to be aware of.

Here is a brief summary:

Business rates

Business rates – a tax on non-residential properties – have long been a cause of complaint for companies, particularly in the manufacturing and retail sectors.

In the last budget it was announced that business rates revaluations will take place every three years, rather than every five years, following the next revaluation. This makes bills more accurately reflect the current rental value of properties.

Today, the Chancellor announced that he is helping businesses by bringing forward the next business rates revaluation to 2021, allowing businesses to benefit from the change to three-year revaluations earlier.

Late payment

Before the Spring Statement was given, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) called on the Chancellor to take this opportunity to vow to crack down on late payments – a practice which costs the economy billons and drives thousands of companies out of business each year.

So, when the Chancellor mentioned late payment in his speech it seemed that the calls were answered.

But, unfortunately it was just a passing mention that there will be a review of how late payments can be avoided.


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Tax

The Chancellor also mentioned a consultation to ensure that digital giants pay their fair share of tax.

Digital businesses create value in a unique way, relying on the participation and engagement of their users. This does not always reflect on the way that they pay tax on their profits.

So, the government will consider how the tax system can change to give a fair result for digital businesses.

Skills

Last April an apprenticeship levy was introduced but for large employers only. This raised concerns about lack of support for smaller businesses.

In his speech the Chancellor recognised the challenges this presents and announced that the education secretary will release up to £80 million of funding to support small businesses in engaging apprentices.

He also said that to support upskilling and retraining, the government is seeking views on extending the current tax relief to support self-employed people and employees when they fund their own training.

What did you think about the Spring Statement? Let us know in the comments below.

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