Picture: Harvey Owen
Halesowen-based chartered accountants Nicklin LLP say many measures introduced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement will be a major boost to small and medium-sized businesses.
In the statement Mr Osborne said the “job was not yet finished” in healing the country’s economy, saying the Government had to “secure the economy for the long term.”
Amongst the raft of measures introduced for business included an extension of the small business rate relief to April 2015, while the rise in general business rates would be capped at 2% rather than linked to Retail Prices Index inflation.
The Chancellor also announced some retail premises in England and Wales, with a rateable value of up to £50,000, would receive a discount on their business rates worth up to £1,000 a year.
A new re-occupation relief is also being introduced, with discounts of 50% on business rates, for businesses moving into empty high street premises.
In a further move that will boost employers, Employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) are being removed for young people under 21, lifting some 1.5 million jobs out of Employer NICs altogether.
There was also good news for the individual, with the Chancellor confirming an increase in the income tax annual allowance to £10,000 from April 2014. Mr Osborne also confirmed the introduction of a married couples and civil partners’ tax break to begin from April 2015. This will allow £1,000 of personal allowance to be transferred from one spouse to another, assuming neither is a higher-rate taxpayer and one is earning less than the personal allowance.
Major changes to pensions were also announced, including plans to raise the state pension age to 68 in the mid-2030s and 69 in the late 2040s. In April 2014, the state pension allowance will rise by £2.95 a week.
Harvey Owen, managing partner at Nicklins, said: “One of the biggest concerns for small and medium-sized businesses is the threat from online retailers, and the burden of business rates, so any cut or extension of relief is welcome.
“However there are concerns that these are short-term measures which will not effectively deal with the crisis on our high streets.
“While this “mini-budget” is encouraging, it remains to be seen whether these measures will lead to a dramatic improvement in the fortunes of our small businesses.
“I would urge business owners to closely study the small print to see if they can benefit from any of the announcements.
“We are only too happy to help businesses make sense of these policies.”
For more information visit www.nicklins.co.uk