‘Business as usual’ following quiet Autumn Statement

McGills Chartered Accountants says a lack of big changes to tax or regulations in the Autumn Statement should be welcomed by businesses looking to get ahead.

The three previous speeches given by the Chancellor have caused a significant shake up in the tax and regulatory rules observed by business and many expected much of the same from the latest Autumn Statement.

However, to the surprise of many George Osborne switched his focus to the economy and public finance. He said “economic and national security” was at the heart of his Autumn Statement and that he wanted to create “an economic recovery for all, in all parts of the country.”

During his speech, the Chancellor announced that the Government would double the housing budget to £2 billion a year, which will fund the creation of an additional 400,000 homes in England; a measure that will provide a significant boost to the construction industry and its suppliers.

Mr Osborne also announced the introduction of a £15,000 allowance to the apprenticeship levy. This will mean that 98 per cent of businesses will not have to contribute 0.5 per cent of their payroll budget to this payment, which has been created to fund the next generation of apprentices.

The Chancellor also confirmed the creation of 26 new or extended enterprise zones and said that plans to devolve business rates powers to local councils would go ahead during the current Parliament.

Simon Nuttall, Partner at Gloucestershire-based McGills, said: “This has been a relatively quiet Autumn Statement compared to the previous announcements that we have had from the Chancellor.

“There has been much conjecture ahead of his speech, but now businesses know that they can expect relatively minor changes it should be business as usual.

“In fact, the relatively few changes may even allow them to pursue growth and investment over the next couple of months, without fearing a sudden change.”

However, Simon said that for those looking to invest in the property market, the Statement may have created an additional barrier.

“The introduction of an additional 3 per cent surcharge on stamp duty for individual’s looking to purchase buy-to-let properties or second homes could cause many to shelve their long-term investment plans,” added Simon.

“In cases where people had hoped to rely upon this income stream later in life it would be best to consult a professional who can point them in the right direction.”

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