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Autumn Statement 2013 preview: what effects will it have on UK businesses?

Thursday December 5th, 2013

Chancellor George Osborne will deliver his Autumn Statement 2013 on Thursday the 5th of December, but what effects will the upcoming announcement have on UK businesses? George Osborne

At last year’s Autumn Statement, the Chancellor’s pleas were heavily geared at businesses in the UK in particular. Amongst these announcements was a 10% increase in capital spending allowance for firms from £25,000 to £250,000 and a 1% corporation tax cut.

However, as the UK economy regains some signs of revival, some commentators suggest that the Chancellor may use the upcoming statement as a small respite. It has been suggested that the Autumn Statement this year won’t bring anything new but simply a few added extras to what was announced in the budget in March.

So what do we expect to see from the budget that will affect British businesses?

Tax simplification

The tax debate will always be a fixed figure in the media, but whilst the number of news stories continues to rise, there has been very little sign that the Government are considering any significant structural change.

Most companies do want to pay the tax they owe and are more than willing to be transparent about it. What businesses need is simple, clear law that is both enforceable and understandable. May companies have good ideas on how this can be carried out but whether or not the Autumn Statement will take this into account is another question.

Business rates

It is expected that the government will address escalating business rates, due to rise again in April, which are hitting high street traders particularly hard.

Business rates as it stands brings in £25billion a year to the treasury which would bring about a surprise turn if the Chancellor does anything as radical as to freeze business rates entirely, which has been called for in several quarters.

It’s possible that Mr Osborne may try to help certain parts of the UK with some form of business rate freeze in poorer areas of the UK and in turn introduce a review of the business rates regime to report back on in a few years time.

However, in the meantime it will be evident that there will be further store closures in the New Year when struggling retailers succumb to poor Christmas trading coupled with VAT and rent payments being due.

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