Leeds based accountancy firm Thomas Coombs has today welcomed measures announced in the Autumn Statement that are set to benefit SMEs and ensure their success, but fears for individuals buying a second home.
Recognising the financial burdens faced by SMEs, Chancellor George Osborne announced that the Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) in England will be extended until April 2017. This means that around 405,000 of the smallest businesses will continue to receive 100% relief from business rates, with a further 200,000 benefiting from tapering relief.
In addition, SMEs should be able to access finance more easily following news that the government plans for Experian, Equifax and CreditSafe to receive SME credit information from designated banks and provide equal access to this information to all financial providers.
Finally, for SMEs looking to take on an apprentice, George Osborne declared that small businesses will continue to receive support. First mentioned in the 2015 Summer Budget, the apprenticeship levy, which will be introduced in April 2017, aims to raise £3bn a year and will be set at 0.5% of the payroll bill. However, as there will be a £15,000 allowance, only around 2% of UK employers will pay it. The policy plans to redress the shortfall of skills in the British economy – which the Chancellor said is, “one of the enduring weakness of the British economy” – and create three million apprenticeship positions by 2020.
However, a new stamp duty rate for people buying homes as buy-to-let properties and second homes will be 3% higher than normal stamp duty.
Christopher Darwin, Partner at UK200Group member firm Thomas Coombs said: Today’s Autumn Statement has shown that the government sees the importance of SMEs for this country’s economy. By promoting competition for SME credit and encouraging more apprentices to start work, as well as extending the Small Business Rate Relief, the Chancellor has shown that he is committed to supporting the UK’s SMEs.
“The rise in stamp duty for buyers of buy-to-let properties and second homes will affect our clients as there are a great many scenarios that mean individuals could be affected. I would urge anyone that is unsure of their situation to contact me for advice.”
If you would like advice on any of the subjects raised in the Autumn Statement, please Christopher Darwin.