On Wednesday 25 November, Chancellor George Osborne delivered the 2015 Autumn Statement and Spending Review. Response was mixed (as we have come to expect – there are always some winners and some losers) and there were a few surprises. The key messages were:
- A U-turn on tax credits;
- An additional £450m to be invested in Government Digital Service so that every individual and small business will have their own digital tax account by 2020;
- Local governments will now have the power to cut rates for businesses and to also keep all the revenues they collect;
- 26 new or extended Enterprise Zones including Carlisle;
- The funding for Innovate UK will be maintained;
- The extension of the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme for another year;
- The rise in capital transport spending;
- 400,000 new homes to be built nationwide by the end of the decade;
- 3% stamp duty supplement for purchases of buy-to-let and second homes from April 2016;
- Payments on account of CGT within 30 days of selling a residential property by 2019;
- 3 million apprenticeships to be created by 2020; and
- 0.5% apprenticeship levy to be introduced on the payroll costs of all businesses with £3m+ payroll costs.
All in all, the Autumn Statement was the Chancellor’s chance to show that there has been an improvement in public finances. Some of it was good for business, but the real test will be whether the private sector continues to grow over the coming years as much of it will be dictated by what’s going on in the Eurozone and further afield. For full commentary, please click on the link below.