Autumn Statement 2013: What it means for small business

Startups breaks down the essential points from the government’s latest plans

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne proclaimed today that “Britain’s economic plan is working” but acknowledged that “the job is not yet done”.

Stressing a continued commitment to supporting enterprise and small business, Osborne revealed several announcements that will affect the start-up community and business world.

Startups has pulled together the key points below:

Business rates

Acknowledging business rates impose a heavy burden, Osborne announced a 2% cap on business rates and extended rate relief for another year, till April 2015 (following a previous extension in the last statement to April 2014).

360,000 small businesses will receive 100% relief with an additional 180,000 receiving tapered relief.

Business can pay rates in 12 monthly installments.

Small Business Saturday and support for high-street businesses

Business rates discount of up to £1,000 to be offered to the retail sector in 2014-15 and retail properties in 2015-16, with a value of up to £50,000. Properties to include, pubs, cafes, restaurants and charity shops.

To encourage reoccupation of disused premises – there will also be a 50% discount from business rates for new occupants of previously empty retail premises for 18 months.

Employment Allowance and reduced NICs

From April 2014, a £2,000 Employment Allowance will be introduced and from April 2015 for small businesses employing staff who are under 21 (and earning less than £813 a week) there will no national insurance contributions needed.

The cost for a business employing a young person on a salary of 12,000 will fall by £500 and for staff on a salary of £16,000 costs will fall by £1,000.

Additional funding for Start Up Loans

10,000 loans have already been allocated and the government has now committed an additional £160m to Start Up Loans over six years.

Responding to high demand, and to allow the scheme to roll out to all ages, the amount of funding provided has doubled.

Osborne claims 50,000 more people will be helped to fulfil their aspiration to start their own business.

New Enterprise Allowance extended

The scheme, which provides support to unemployed people who want to start their own business, has been further extended until March 2016.

Social investment tax relief

The government will encourage investment in charities, community interest companies and community benefit societies by offering a new tax relief for equity and certain debt investments.

This will come into effect from April 2014.

Dependent on consultation, social impact bonds issued by companies limited by shares will also be eligible.

Fuel duty rise cancelled

The planned fuel duty increase has been scrapped, the fuel duty freeze will continue. As a result, fuel duty in real terms is expected to fall, and average pump prices are 13ppl lower than if the government had introduced the fuel duty escalator.

A small business owner with a van is expected to save £1,300 by 2015-6.

Support for high-tech start-ups

Not mentioned in Osborne’s statement but detailed in the report, the government plans to provide £11m to create the Higgs Centre, offering support for high-tech businesses.

What do you think? Is the government doing enough for small business? What else would you have liked to have seen? Share your comments below.

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