Autumn Budget 2021: Business Highlights
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, presented the Autumn Budget on the 27th of October, covering the UK’s economy’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and finding a way to pay for all the support measures he has had to put in place.
The main highlights were about where there is going to be cash injections such as the NHS, regional transport, housing, education and an end to the pay freeze in the public sector. We have highlighted some of the business and investment announcements that may affect your business:
Business rates reform
Rishi Sunak said business rates raise £25bn annually so the Chancellor was loath to scrap them all together instead, promising to make them fairer and timelier. Therefore, once every three years from 2023, there will be a revaluation.
There was also an investment relief for businesses that adopt green technologies like solar panels. There was also an acceptance of a CBI and Retail Corporation recommendation that businesses would pay no extra rates on property improvements for 12 months. Rishi Sunak stated factories expanding and hotels adding extra rooms are examples of businesses that would benefit.
50% business rate relief for retail, leisure and hospitality
Businesses that are still recovering from the impacts of the pandemic will benefit from at least 50% business rate relief up to £110,000. This will benefit businesses like pubs, music venues, cinemas, restaurants, hotels, theatres and gyms.
Annual investment allowance extended
The Chancellor announced that the allowance would be extended and will not end until March 2023. The annual investment allowance is designed to encourage business investment and make tax simpler for businesses investing between £200,000 and £1million.
Alongside this extension, in the Spring Budget 2021 the Chancellor announced the super-deduction allowance where companies who invest in qualifying new plant and machinery can claim 130% super deduction allowance. An extra benefit is that the qualifying plant and machinery is also eligible on Hire Purchase finance.
Recovery Loan Scheme Extended
The Government backed loan, The Recovery Loan Scheme, was originally due to end on the 31st of December however the Government have announced that they will be extending it for 6 months with some changes.
Now ending on the 30th of June 2022, the Recovery Loan Scheme will also have reduced maximum spend from £10million to £2million and the Government guarantee is being reduced from 80% to 70%.
Scale up Visa – Spring 2022
A new visa is being introduced called the ‘Scale Up Visa’ which will allow businesses access to highly qualified and skilled international workers. The full details are yet to be announced but applicants will need to pass language proficient tests and their salary will need to be at least £33,000.
Cross Border Group Relief (CBGR)
From the 27th of October 2021, the CBGR and other related loss reliefs are to be abolished in order to ‘protect the UK Exchequer against unfair outcomes’. The CBGR is the result of an EU law therefore, something that the UK no longer needs to abide too due to Brexit. The result will be ‘equal treatment of companies in EU and non-EU countries’.
Fuel Duties Cancelled for April 2022
Fuel prices are at their highest in 8 years, the planned rise in fuel duty was canceled. According to the Chancellor, 12 years of frozen rates equated to an average annual saving of £1,900 per car driver.
HGV Driver Shortage and Supply Chains
The HGV driver shortage is impacting our supply chains and Rishi Sunak addressed the issue by covering a series of measures. These measures include issuing 50,000 short term temporary visas, freezing Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) for HGVs and suspending the HGV road user levy for another 12 months from August 2022.
National Living Wage Increase
From 1st April 2022, the National Living Wage will increase to £9.50 per house, a pay rise worth over £1,000 in gross pay per year to some.