Alongside the headline grabbing announcements, there was positive news for various schemes that help and support businesses in our area. As previously announced by Government, the Made Smarter programme – which supports manufacturing SMEs to use advanced digital technologies- is being rolled out nationally by 2025-26. The announcement of additional funding for UK Export Finance SME support will also be welcomed, as is the continued commitment to the Help to Grow scheme and of course to Growth Hubs.

Amongst other updates for SMEs and sole traders:

  • The government will introduce a prompt payment requirement on firms bidding for government contracts over £5 million from April 2024.
  • For the self-employed, abolishment of Class 2 and reduction of Class 4 National Insurance from 9% to 8%.
  • All alcohol duty will be frozen until 1st August, which should deliver some benefit to pubs and producers such as brewers and cider makers.
  • Full Capital Expensing Permanent: Deduction of plant and machinery costs from profits, reducing corporation tax liabilities.
  • Extension of the current 75% business rates relief for eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties and freezing the small business rates multiplier for business in 2024/25.
  • Freeports – extending the duration of tax reliefs available from five to ten years.

You can read the full supporting information for the Autumn Statement here.