The Autumn Budget 2017 posed some challenges for Chancellor Philip Hammond, as the self-employed listened carefully for announcements on the likes of VAT, business rates, and investment.
It was unclear whether the Budget would include many measures for the self-employed, especially given the previous row over National Insurance contributions that forced the government into a u-turn. But the Autumn Budget 2017 contained a range of announcements that will affect the self-employed and small business owners through the coming years.
Here, we’ve put together a summary of the key points from Budget 2017 that could affect small businesses.
The Chancellor made a number of announcements about the outlook for the UK economy. Some were cause for cautious optimism, while others will give the government worry in the coming years. The impact of Brexit will be felt more acutely than the Treasury had previously expected, but official forecasts suggest that debt levels and GDP will begin to recover within the next three years.
The personal allowance was expected to rise again this year, and it was confirmed that both the level at which taxpayers start paying, along with the higher rate threhold, would both increase.
The personal allowance increase may be particularly important for self-employed people working at the lowest end of the pay scale, and for those in the very earliest stages of establishing their businesses.
VAT was a looming question coming into the Autumn Budget 2017. There was some concern that the VAT threshold could be dramatically reduced, forcing many more small firms into the VAT regime. However, this change did not materialise.
Other changes announced by the Chancellor included a shift in the way business rates are calculated, and a change to R&D tax credits.
Tax on diesel vehicles could cause problems for tradesmen, but there was a welcome exemption announced in Autumn Budget 2017 for van drivers. In addition, there was good news regarding the scheduled fuel duty rise.
The government is keen to demonstrate investment in British companies, especially at a period during which the UK needs to remain as competitive as it possibly can. There were measures in the Budget to help UK SMEs and also larger businesses carrying out research and development to this end.
There was also an announcement regarding UK employees' digital skills, which will be improved through a retraining scheme.
The National Living Wage, which has replaced the Minimum Wage, was the subject of an increase in the most recent Budget. The change could affect employers across the UK, including small businesses.
Finally, the Chancellor announced a range of new initiatives intended to improve infrastructure across the UK both for private citizens and for businesses. The measures include investment in 5G and broadband, and new transport help for city regions.
Do you think the Budget is good for small businesses? Let us know in the comments.
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