Paul Caunter reviews the 2019 Spring Statement and explores the measures most likely to affect SMEs:
With a backdrop of ‘clouds of uncertainty’ over Brexit, Philip Hammond’s Spring Statement was surprisingly positive for UK SMEs, but on the proviso that the country manages to avoid a no-deal Brexit scenario.
- Tackling late payments
The Chancellor pledged to tackle the problem of late payments, which continue to affect cash flow for SMEs. Large companies will need an audit committee, led by a non-executive director, to report on payment practices when dealing with small businesses in their annual accounts.
- Energy efficiency
The Statement also included a pledge to help small businesses cut their carbon emissions and lower their energy bills. The Chancellor called for evidence on the Business Energy Efficiency Scheme, to see how the government might support investment in energy efficiency measures.
Acknowledging the financial difficulties the Apprenticeship Levy places on small and medium sized businesses, the Chancellor announced he will be bringing forward his plan to provide £700 million to help SMEs invest in apprenticeships. From 1st April, the co-investment amount paid by employers will reduce from 10% cent to 5%.
- Digital competition rules
The Chancellor also announced that he will respond later in the year to findings from a report into competition rules for the digital age, with a view to boosting competition and innovation for the benefit of consumers and businesses.
For further information on any of these points, don’t hesitate to contact the Ignition team on 01872 272900.