From the forecast growth upgrade to lowering of the Government deficit and fall in unemployment it all sounds like the UK is doing great! But the big relief is no double dip recession and the aspiration of better times ahead seems plausible at last.
So what will the Autumn Statement by Mr Osborne do for small businesses?
To be fair to Mr Osborne he seems to actually be offering some concessions to us small business folk with the following:
- Employer national insurance scrapped for under 21s. This will affect 1.5m jobs and will mean that it will be cheaper for businesses to hire under 21s as they will save 13.8% in national insurance.
- HM Revenue and Customs will fund employers directly for apprenticeships with an extra 20,000 higher apprenticeships over next two years.
- Increase on business rates capped at 2%. 1,000 pounds off for small shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants. 50% relief for taking on empty retail properties. The small business rate relief scheme will be extended for one year from April 2014.
- The startup loans scheme will be expanded, and is predicted to serve 50,000 extra people.
What else is there of interest?
The main one is that we will virtually all be working longer before we enjoy our “massive” pensions!?!?!
- Increasing the pension age to 68 in mid-2030s and 69 in late-2040s. Pension age "has to keep in line with life expectancy". New principle that people should spend one third of adult life in retirement
- 2014's fuel duty rise will be cancelled.
- Train fares flat in real terms next year, cancelling a 1% above-inflation rise. •Largest package of measures to clamp down on tax avoidance in this Government. Predicted to raise 9bn pounds over next five years.
- New 1,000 pounds transferable tax allowance for married couples from April 2015 will be "just a start''. Allowance to be automatically uprated in line with income tax personal allowance.
- Rolling back green levies will take an average 50 pounds off energy bills.
- Financial resources provided to fund expansion of free school meals to all school children in reception, year one and year two.
There is of course more to the Autumn Statement but these are the some of the main point of interest. Let’s hope that all the more optimistic forecasting is correct. One thing worth bearing in mind is that we were at such a low point one could only really expect things to get better.