From boosting entrepreneurship to cutting business rates
1. “Chancellor is on course for nurturing a vibrant business community”
Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI director-general, said:
“Businesses will be pleased to see the chancellor staying the course on deficit reduction, his commitment to an industrial strategy, and the emphasis on nurturing a vibrant business community.
“Standouts include maintaining spending on infrastructure; ramping up housebuilding; support for energy-intensive sectors and for advanced manufacturing.
“Business recognises there are tough choices to be made in balancing the books, but many are reaching a tipping point, where the cumulative burden of the living wage, apprenticeship levy and business rates risk hurting competitiveness.
“The Apprenticeship Levy, set at 0.5%, is a significant extra payroll tax on business and by widening the net it will now catch smaller firms. We welcome the creation of a levy board to give business a voice on how the money is spent and will work with the government to ensure a focus on quality.”
2. “Government understands the importance of entrepreneurship”
Guy Rigby, partner – head of entrepreneurial services, Smith & Williamson:
“I’m pleased to say that the Autumn Statement does not appear to have interfered with the UK’s growth agenda and that the beneficial tax environment for entrepreneurs remains intact. My reflection is that this government appears to understand the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation as key drivers of employment and wealth creation.”
3. “Autumn Statement shows Conservatives’ appetite to support UK SMEs”
Jenny Campbell, CEO of YourCash:
“The Autumn Statement offers greater fairness across the board, in particular balancing virtual and actual business spaces and the diverted profits tax. This is particularly evident from the issues addressed by the business rates piece, creating a more level playing field for businesses of all kinds and reducing the emphasis on pro-virtual mentalities that’s currently in place. This is a big step in the right direction, supporting the SME and allowing growth and investment in business, especially with the reduction of the corporation tax. SMEs will also no doubt welcome the simplification of the annual tax return – especially as it will allow collation of the information.”
4. “Cut to business rates will instil confidence”
Russell Gould, COO, small business e-lender, Everline, said:
“Empowering local councils to cut their own business rates and keep 100% of the revenues created for further business growth in their regions will help instil confidence in our small business network, especially outside of London – fuelling the government’s drive to redress the north-south economic imbalance.
“Research we conducted this summer in association with the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr) revealed small businesses in the capital are set to move further ahead of the rest of Britain over the next 10 years, with revenues forecast to increase by around £162,000 by 2025 compared to the £82,000 increase expected around the country as a whole. It’s now up to local councils to ensure that these additional revenues are invested in the correct infrastructure, such as digital services, to help accelerate small business’ growth plans across the whole of the country.”
5. “Chancellor’s decision to double the housing budget is commendable”
Martin Robinson, director of sales at Hunters Property Group, said:
“We welcome the chancellor’s decision to double the housing budget and to build 400,000 new homes across England, this can only mean good things for the UK’s housing market and the economy as a whole. Home ownership is a key aspiration for the British public and making this ambition more achievable for more people boosts morale which undeniably drives the housing market and will create churn.
“We are obviously delighted to see a further injection of cash into the Northern Powerhouse. Having first opened our doors 23 years ago in York this is a topic Hunters feels very passionate about. We have experienced a 30-40% increase in buyers looking to put their money in the north in the last six months and this is partly due to the new transport links and infrastructure planned. It’s important to note this interest is not just coming from first time buyers looking to buy more for their money, but also investors as they realise this part of the country can offer high yields and fantastic returns. As the chancellor mentioned, the economy is thriving in the north and these latest plans indicate the government’s continued confidence in the region. ”
6. “Removal of barriers to creating a secondary market for annuities is welcome”
Tom McPhail, head of retirement policy, Hargreaves Lansdown, said:
“The government confirmed it will remove the barriers to creating a secondary market for annuities. This is a welcome development; the secondary annuity market can work well for consumers provided insurers are prevented from directly buying back their own policies as this would risk investors losing out. Market competition through annuity brokers, combined with appropriate consumer safeguards should ensure the market will work well, however existing annuity holders may in some cases be disappointed by the relatively low sums they are offered in return for their existing guaranteed income.”