The Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, recently released his Autumn Statement, outlining a range of measures that will impact small and medium-sized businesses across the country. As a small business owner, you’ll want to know what support is available and what new measures are being introduced. Here’s a roundup of the key announcements:
Business Rates Relief
There is continued relief for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, with the 75% discount on business rates extended for 2024-25. This builds on the 50% relief that has been available and provides ongoing support for high street businesses.
Relief means a reduction in the amount of tax that has to be paid. So in this case, eligible businesses will get a 75% price cut on the property taxes they owe for another year. This makes their biggest bills much cheaper.
There is also a freeze on the business rates multiplier for a fourth consecutive year. This means rates bills will not increase in line with inflation next year. With costs of goods, utilities and borrowing on the rise, this freeze will assist over 90% of business rate payers.
Tax and Investment Measures
The Chancellor emphasised the need to encourage business investment and growth. A major measure announced is making the full tax deduction for investment in equipment permanent. This means companies can keep claiming tax relief worth up to 25p for every £1 they spend on investments.
When you spend money as a business buying things like machines, tools, vehicles, or furniture for your company use, these are called "plant and machinery investments". In the past, you could claim special tax breaks called "capital allowances" on some of these major investments.
Now, the Chancellor has made the tax relief more generous so businesses can continue claiming up to 25p back for every £1 spent on these investments. This means your business gets upfront tax savings equivalent to 25% of the purchase cost.
For example, if you invest £10,000 in new machinery or equipment, under this scheme you can deduct £2,500 off your tax bill. This adds up to big tax savings for major investments.
Freeport tax reliefs will also be extended from five years to ten years for the English Freeports. So if you are operating in or plan to relocate to a Freeport area, you can access tax breaks for the next decade.
SME Funding and Support
Extra funding was announced for the British Business Bank’s Future Fund Breakthrough - aimed at R&D intensive businesses. Another £250m is being injected into the Long-Term Investment in Technology and Science scheme to increase investment in science and tech.
The government is expanding Made Smarter, a programme helping small businesses pay for new technology upgrades. Through it, you can now get up to £10,000 towards things like new software, machinery and equipment - money that can really modernise how you operate.
On top of this discount on tech upgrades, other new initiatives aim to support small firms further. Help to Grow will keep providing management training. There will be tighter rules to stop large clients paying small suppliers late. More funding is coming to finance small business innovation. Policies will make markets fairer for small players.
The bottom line
This Autumn Statement offers small businesses like yours discounts on taxes, funding for investments, and other money-saving support. Make sure to check if you qualify for things like:
● Cheaper business rates bills for your property
● Tax relief when buying new equipment - claim back up to 25%
● Grants to upgrade to new technologies
Talk to your accountant or financial advisor as soon as possible about how to tap into these savings for your company. Programmes like these can ease money pressures and help you invest in things that help you compete and grow. You can read more about the other policies and support announced here.
This does not constitute financial or tax advice. If you want to understand any tax relief you could benefit from in detail, contact your financial advisor or accountant.