McGills Chartered Accountants says Spring Statement hints at an end to austerity later in the year and calls for Chancellor to listen to businesses’ needs

McGills Chartered Accountants has welcomed the muted suggestion in the Spring Statement that the Government may be considering increasing public spending and has called on the Chancellor to consider the needs of small businesses.

The practice, which has offices in Cirencester and Malmesbury, said it didn’t expect much from Philip Hammond during the speech after HM Treasury had played down the impact of the first Spring Statement.

The department had suggested that there would be little or no tax changes or spending announcements, and yet Philip Hammond’s speech ended up delivering a few small measures aimed at improving productivity and growth.

Amongst the announcements made by the Chancellor were a new £80 million fund to help small businesses to recruit new apprentices and a change to the date of the next business rate revaluation from 2022 to 2021 – reducing future rates bills for businesses.

Particularly welcome news for businesses and individuals across the region is the commitment to release of £95 million to help bring high-speed fibre broadband to new areas in the UK.

Mr Hammond also provided an overview of the economy using the latest figures from the Office for Budget Responsibility, which showed that in the short-term GDP growth would rise, only to slow again in the long-term.

Underneath these small giveaways, there were much larger indications that the Government might be changing track on its spending plans, according to McGills Chartered Accountants.

Simon Nuttall, Partner at McGills Chartered Accountants, said: “This latest Spring Statement contained the biggest indication yet that the Government may be loosening the reins on spending and might be moving towards less austere times after the Autumn Budget later this year.

“We were encouraged to see some movement on expanding the UK’s high-speed fibre broadband infrastructure. This is much-needed locally and it is important that everything that can be done is done for rural broadband, which is a particular area of concern for our clients.

“While there were a few gifts to small businesses in his speech, Mr Hammond now needs to take the time to engage more with small businesses to find out what they actually require.

“It is no good increasing spending if small businesses – the powerhouse of the UK economy – don’t benefit in some way from it.”

He called on businesses to become more vocal about their need for additional funding and reliefs, while also preparing themselves to take advantage of any opportunities that may come out of the Autumn Budget later this year. 

In the hours following the Spring Statement the Treasury released a number of new consultation documents, including most importantly a review of the VAT threshold, with a view to removing the tax barriers that prevent small businesses from growing.