The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement brings festive cheer to small businesses

Andover Advertiser: The Chancellor George Osborne making his Autumn Statement in the House of Commons today The Chancellor George Osborne making his Autumn Statement in the House of Commons today

THERE is some festive cheer from the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement according to Basingstoke accountant Steve Rayner.

He feels today’s announcement by George Osborne on business rates for small businesses should bring some festive cheer to the High Street.

Steve, who runs TaxAssist Accountants in Hackwood Road, Basingstoke, said that business rate increases would be limited to 2 per cent next year, rather than linked to inflation, which would have meant a 3.2 per cent increase, was a step in the right direction for many local firms and plans to incentivise occupying vacant premises was further good news.

“The 2 per cent cap is a step which will be welcomed by many local small businesses, together with the news that small firms rate relief is to be extended for another year for businesses in England,” said Steve.

“The £1,000 small shops discount for retail premises with a rateable value of less than £50,000, is also good news for many small retailers, pubs, cafes, restaurants and charity shops and halving the rate for reoccupying premises which have been vacant for 18 months is a strong incentive for entrepreneurs across England who are planning to return to the High Street.

“We would ideally have liked to see a freeze on business rates pending a reform of the rating system, which would have been a significant benefit to all small businesses, but these are positive steps forward.”

He said business rates are a significant burden for many local business owners, with more than a third of local businesses highlighting it as a serious concern in a recent survey we conducted with our network of 46,000 small business clients, so relieving that burden is essential.

Steve said: “Cancelling next year’s planned fuel duty increase will benefit many service providers and trades people who make home visits – their cars and vans are a vital part of their service, not a luxury and they can’t absorb the cost of fuel increases.

“The National Insurance concession for firm’s employing people aged under-21, which comes into effect in April 2015 is also a positive step for small businesses that are looking to recruit.”

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