Philip Hammond delivered his Autumn Statement this week, setting out some measures intended to boost business confidence, particularly on housing, tax and investment. Ignition Director, Paul Caunter, explores what these changes will mean for SMEs:
“Whilst not necessarily ground-breaking, there are a few measures introduced by the chancellor this week that will be welcomed by UK SMEs. Specifically, many smaller firms will see their business rates stay the same or even decrease, now that calculations will be based on the lower Consumer Price Index (CPI) rather than the Retail Price Index (RPI).
Good news for growing companies is the announcement of an Action Plan to unlock £20 billion of new investment in UK scale-up businesses, which includes a new £2.5 billion fund administered by the British Business Bank (BBB). The BBB’s successful Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) programme has also been expanded for a further four years and expanded to £500m per year. Ignition has access to this successful scheme, which can guarantee loans for business assets where there is little or no security in the purchase, and no security provided from the owners of the business, but can demonstrate the ability to service the proposed loan.
Measures to stimulate housebuilding, with targets to build 300,000 new homes per year, will be well-received by firms in the construction industry, as will plans to invest in infrastructure. Locally in Cornwall, a £79m investment into a new A30 link road near St Austell will enable local growth and improve connectivity in the region.
Motorists are being persuaded to take the greener option, with investment in infrastructure for charging electric cars. There’s a blow to any businesses with a fleet of diesel company cars, however, who will see a new vehicle excise duty (VED) applied and a rise in the existing Company Car Tax diesel supplement from 3% to 4%.
Finally, the Government announced plans to publish two consultations on lease taxation, responding to the recent introduction of IFRS 16, the new accounting standard for leasing. As a leading vehicle and asset finance provider for UK SME’s, we’ll be keeping a close eye on these consultations and will keep our customers informed of any relevant developments.”
For further information or advice on any of these points, don’t hesitate to contact the Ignition team on 01872 272900.