With a General Election looming, George Osborne delivered his sixth budget with a call to keep Britain “walking tall”. The budget covered everything from the minimum wage to the Internet of Things (IoT), but an emphasis was placed on supporting business owners because the Chancellor said: “We can’t create jobs without businesses.”
Below, we’ll briefly examine the key policies for businesses owners should take note of, if the Conservative Party win at the polls in May.
End to the annual tax return
There had been speculation that the Chancellor would end the annual tax returns and this proved to be true when Osborne announced that “tax shouldn’t be taxing,” rather than an annual tax return, from 2020 the information HMRC needs will be automatically uploaded into new digital tax accounts.
The Chancellor added that this would help business owners feel like they are paying a simple, single business tax. He also announced that in regards to Entrepreneurs’ Relief that “Entrepreneurs’ Relief will only be available to those selling genuine shares in businesses.” This is to negate tax avoidance but as of this time, the policy still needs to be clarified.
Corporation Tax was also cut, and from April businesses making profit in excess of £300,000 will reduce to 20%, down 28% on 2010 and the current rate of 21%. Corporation Tax for companies with profit of less than £300,000 will stay at the existing level of 20%, meaning the two figures will be aligned. The Chancellor explained that businesses need low taxes to remain competitive.
Support for the economic recovery in the North of England remained strong with the Chancellor announcing a £13bn investment into travel with power devolved to Greater Manchester, Osborne hopes this will create a northern hub. £11m will also be invested in tech hubs in Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester, and enterprise zones in these areas will be expanded.
Osborne promised to invest £600m into better mobile networks and increased broadband speed. £40m will be spent on research into the Internet of Things which Osborne explained is connecting everything from urban transport to medical devices to household appliances.
Support for exports
UK Trade and Investment activities in China will see a near doubling in funding to £15m with advanced manufacturing, transport and financial services some of the key areas being focussed on.
The national minimum wage will also see an increase to £6.70 from October, Osborne said that by then Britain will be able to afford real increases in wages.
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