2011 Autumn Statement - Unlocks the Wheels of Smaller Business Investment
Qualified in accountancy....
.... experienced in leisure
Starting off his speech with a review of revised Office of Budget Responsibility forecasts that showed growth dropping to below 1% in 2011 (0.9%) and 2012 (0.7%), the Chancellor looked towards a recovery to 2.7-3% in 2014-16 that would allow the government to achieve its long-term goal of balancing the budget by the end of this Parliament.
Detailed measures announced included:
A £21bn credit easing initiative based around a National Loan Guarantee Scheme to lower the cost of bank loans for businesses with turnovers up to £50m. Participating banks will be able to raise up to £20bn over the next two years under the guarantee scheme, provided they pass through this lower cost of funding to smaller businesses in lower interest rates on new loans and overdraft - subject to State Aid approval from Europe, small firms should be able to apply for these funds through participating banks in the normal way.
A £1bn Business Finance Partnership scheme to raise non-bank finance for small and medium-sized Businesses. The government will begin the process of allocating funds early in 2012.
Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) will be extended from January 2012 to include businesses with up to £44m annual turnover.
New Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) to be launched in April 2012, offering 50% income tax relief on investments, along with a Capital Gains Tax exemption on gains realised in 2012-13 and then invested through SEIS in the same year. In addition, the government will simplify and refocus the Enterprise Investment Scheme and Venture Capital Trusts.
Small business rate relief holiday extended for a further six months from 1 October 2012. The Government will also give businesses the opportunity to defer 60 per cent of the increase in their 2012-13 business rate bills as a result of the RPI up-rating, to be repaid equally across the following two years.
Extend the R&D tax credit scheme to larger companies in 2013, subject to detailed consultation at Budget time next year. The existing SME R&D incentives will not be affected.
An extra £1bn for the Regional Growth Fund for England between now and 2014-15, along with a range of infrastructure projects that will be devoted to improving transport and broadband internet services in the regions.
Make 100% capital allowances available in the Black Country; Humber; Liverpool; North Eastern; Sheffield; and Tees Valley enterprise zones. Further extensions are planned to zones in the North East and a potential new zone around the Battersea power station in London.
Bring forward employment law and health and safety reforms under consideration part of the Red Tape Challenge.
More than £5bn additional spending promised for investments set out in the National Infrastructure Plan, backed by £20bn from UK pension funds.
The Chancellor stated in his speech that all the extra spending can be funded through central government savings and a 1% cap on some public sector pay increases for the two years after the current freeze ends in 2013.
An unexpected savings measure that may affect some businesses and tax advisers was a draft regulation restricting tax relief on asset-backed pension contributions that will take effect immediately, in spite of being presented as a Finance Bill 2012 consultation. “This will save the Exchequer almost half a billion pounds a year,”.
Somewhat dry for leisure businesses here in Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset. The truth remains as always:
Do what you do, do it well, with a proven demand for your product, and you will make good profits, whatever the Chancellor gives or takes away.
But there is real money here, in the form of the extended business rates relief, and for customers of South West Water, that long-awaited £50 reduction. And a government that repeatedly makes pronouncements on reduction of red tape - eventually they will have to deliver.
In addition, if you are looking to grow your business, then funding issues may ease a little in the New Year.
We just continue to hope the the staycation effect lives on, with a patriotic tinge in 2012, and that customers continue to see dining out and taking holidays as essentials, rather than luxuries to cut out, in these undoubtedly hard times.
Now would not be the time for any announcement to reduce Vat in the hospitality sector - after all we are generally posting gains in occupancy in our hotels this year so far. But it remains in our view a firm possibility for 2013, when it can have most impact on the economy and of course re-election chances.
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November 29th 2011
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