On Wednesday, Rishi Sunak presented his Spring Statement, outlining how he will support the economy against a backdrop of rising inflation and a squeeze on the cost of living.
Businesses and households across the country will benefit from a 5p/litre cut in fuel duty to take the pressure off rocketing petrol and diesel prices – a welcome move, particularly for the many companies that depend on the transportation of their goods and services. A number of additional measures may help to ease the burden on SMEs as they recover from the effects of the pandemic and grapple with rising prices:
- Increased Employment Allowance
The Employment Allowance, which gives relief on employer National Insurance contributions for smaller businesses, will rise in April from £4,000 to £5,000.
- Green Reliefs for Business Rates
The Chancellor is bringing forward the introduction of targeted business rates exemptions for eligible plant and machinery used in onsite renewable energy generation and storage, and a 100% relief for eligible low-carbon heat networks. These measures will now take effect from April 2022, a year earlier than previously planned.
- Retail and Hospitality Business Rates
The previously announced business rates discount scheme for retail, hospitality and leisure, providing 50% relief on rates, will start in April as planned, giving these sectors a welcome boost.
- Annual Investment Allowance
It was confirmed that the temporary Annual Investment Allowance providing tax relief for plant and machinery investments up to £1m will continue to 31 March 2023, to further stimulate business investment and help businesses grow.
- Help to Grow: Digital
The government is also helping firms to adopt new digital technologies, with Help to Grow: Digital, offering eligible SMEs a 50% discount on approved software worth up to £5,000.
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