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What does the Autumn statement mean for SMEs?

Autumn Statement 728x200

Prior to George Osborne's unveiling of the Autumn Statement, there was cause for concern for small and medium sized businesses. So what does the statement mean for SMEs? Keep reading for our bite-size version of the statement.

Small business rate relief scheme has been extended

The small business rate relief scheme has been extended until the end of March 2017, despite fears that the scheme would be abandoned altogether.

If your company has no more than one property with a ratable value of less than £12,000, your business will recieve up to 100% rate relief. This is excellent news for those businesses eligible, who could have been looking at costs of nearly £10,000 should the scheme have ended.

No apprenticeship levy for SMEs

The government will not expect SMEs to set aside 0.5% of their total wage bill to training young workers. If your business is paying less than £3m in wages overall, the apprenticeship levy will not apply to you.

The apprenticeship levy is designed to make apprenticeships more readily available for those leaving education, and to ensure that the apprenticeships offered are of a high standard.

Start up loans

Wednesday's statement pledged a further £400m to Enterprise Capital Funds, a government-backed venture which invests in SMEs. The Funding for Lending scheme, which extends lending to firms will also be continued for another year.

The Northern Powerhouse

Osborne is still pushing his Northern Powerhouse plans, the aim of which is to boost economic growth in the North, and address the economic divide between the North and South of the country.

Regrettably, this still seems to place emphasis on areas around Greater Manchester and the North West. However, a £400m Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund has been established in order to invest in small businesses.

Enterprise Zones 

As part of the spending review, the government has announced that 26 new Enterprise Zones will be established. Businesses will be encouraged to locate within one of these zones through business rate discount or enhanced capital allowances.

Nineteen of the Enterprise Zones are within the Northern Powerhouse, two of which are in the North East, 'NE Round 2' and 'Tees Valley Unlimited'.

The full spending review and autumn statement for 2015 can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/spending-review-and-autumn-statement-2015-documents/spending-review-and-autumn-statement-2015


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