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Autumn Budget 2021: what was announced for tradespeople?

4-minute read

Autumn Budget 2021: what was announced for tradespeople?
Lucy McNeill

Lucy McNeill

28 October 2021

Chancellor Rishi Sunak says that his latest Budget marks the beginning of an 'age of optimism' for the UK. But what measures will impact tradespeople? Keep reading to find out.

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Fuel duty will stay frozen

Motorists across the country will be pleased to hear that the reported hike in fuel duty has been scrapped. The Treasury came under pressure to ditch the fuel duty hike as petrol prices hit a record high of 142.94p per litre.

The government says that the average car driver will save £15 on an average tank of fuel, while van drivers will save around £30 per tank (when compared to pre-2010 plans).

The coronavirus Recovery Loan Scheme is being extended

The government-backed loan scheme has been extended by six months, but the amount you can borrow has now been reduced from £10 million to £2 million. Originally, the government guaranteed 80 per cent of the finance, but this has now been reduced to 70 per cent. The scheme will now end in June 2022.

The Recovery Loan Scheme was introduced to bridge the gap between the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). But due to its much stricter financial terms, uptake for the Recovery Loan Scheme has been slow. The scheme has so far provided £1.06 billion worth of loans – by comparison, CBILS and BBLS facilitated loans worth over £80 billion.

Plan for Jobs extension and a ‘skills revolution’

The Chancellor touched on the £500 million extension to the 'Plan for Jobs', announced at the Conservative Party Conference earlier this month. The measures are part of the government's wider plans for investing in infrastructure and skills, and include:

The Treasury is also putting £3 billion into improving skills across the country. Around £1.6 billion will be used to fund over 100,000 T-Levels (technical-based qualifications) for young people aged 16-19. Another 24,000 traineeships will also be funded.

£5,000 heat pump grants for homeowners

Homeowners will now be able to access grants of up to £5,000 to replace their gas boilers with low-carbon heat pumps. While the government won't be banning the installation of fossil fuel boilers, they're hoping the scheme will incentivise homeowners to choose cleaner heating options.

The £450 million scheme will be used to install 90,000 heat pumps over the next three years. The government has said that this will not only reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, but will also create 240,000 new jobs across the country by 2035.

Homeowners will be able to access the grant from April 2022.

National Insurance will increase

Earlier this year, the Treasury announced a National Insurance increase of 1.25 percentage points to help pay for health and social care. This covers Class 1 (employee and employer), Class 1A and 1B, and Class 4 (self-employed) National Insurance contributions.

If you're an employer, this'll make hiring new employees more expensive. This is because you pay a percentage of Class 1 National Insurance contributions based on your new employee's salary. You'll also feel the pinch if you're a sole trader as you pay self-employed rates on your income after business expenses.

The self-employed pay Class 4 National Insurance contributions on profits between £9,568 to £50,270, which will increase to 10.25 per cent (and 3.25 per cent on profits above that).

The minimum wage will go up

The Chancellor announced a 6.6 per cent increase in the national living wage for those aged 23 and over, bringing it up from £8.91 to £9.50 an hour. The national minimum wage for people aged 21-22 will also go up, rising from £8.36 to £9.18 an hour, while the apprentice rate will increase from £4.30 to £4.81 an hour. The changes will come into force on 1 April 2022.

The move comes as part of the government's target to bring the living wage up to £10 an hour by 2024. There are some suggestions that this could even be brought forward a year.

The Chancellor said ​​that the increase "ensures we're making work pay and keeps us on track to meet our target to end low pay by the end of this Parliament".

£150 million to support small businesses outside of the South East

A pot of £150 million will be made available to support small business growth outside of London and the South East. The British Business Bank will fund 'Dragons Den-style' angel investment hubs, providing small businesses with vital funding.

The British Business Bank wants to encourage regional investment hubs away from London and the South East, as part of wider government efforts to 'level up' parts of the country.

So far, over 200 small businesses have benefited from the government's Regional Angel Programme, set up in 2019.

£21 billion to improve roads

The government has set aside £21 billion to upgrade roads across the UK. This will include £2.6 billion for local road upgrades and £5 billion for road maintenance.

Brownfield sites will be regenerated

The Treasury is dedicating £1.8 billion to help regenerate derelict land across the country. Local authorities will also be given £9 million to build 100 urban 'pocket parks' across the country.

£11.5 billion to build more affordable housing

As part of the Affordable Homes Programme, £11.5 billion will go towards building 180,000 new affordable homes. The majority of this money will go towards building affordable homes outside of London.

A roundup of other Autumn Budget 2021 announcements for the self-employed

  • business rates remain, but a new relief fund will be made available for businesses adopting greener technology
  • alcohol duty will be simplified, with a cut to duty rates for draught beer and cider
  • no increase to capital gains tax
  • an extra £5 billion to go towards removing unsafe cladding

Want to know more about the Autumn Budget 2021? Read our UK Budget guides for:

What do you think about the announcements in the UK Autumn Budget 2021? Let us know in the comments below.

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