If you have been reading the political news in recent days (and who hasn’t), you would be forgiven to think the EU referendum was the only item on the agenda. Well, think again! On Wednesday, George Osborne will deliver his eighth Budget statement to the House of Commons, and London’s New and Growing Companies should take note.
The long-awaited business rates review, which was due at the end of last year, should now be delivered at the Budget. So far the Treasury has been tight-lipped about what this might include, but it is fair to say businesses are not expecting radical change.
Most businesses would like to see more regular rates revaluations and a further easing of the business rates burden on small businesses, but with the Chancellor looking to reduce the UK government’s deficit a cut in the overall burden of business rates is highly unlikely.
A number of Budget submissions, including from the Federation of Small Businesses have called for the total exclusion of small businesses from the business rates system, but the tumultuous fiscal outlook has probably removed any notion of this coming forward in the Budget this time around.
What we already know is that the Chancellor will continue on with his plan to devolve business rates proceeds to local authorities and the Budget should contain more detail on this.
Further announcements may also come on digital tax accounts, and a further simplification of the UK tax, following the establishment of the Office of Tax Simplification.
Elsewhere business owners will be looking for movement on the delivery of ultrafast broadband in London and beyond and further information on the future of the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) and the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and whether rates of relief and the investment levels will be changed again. Further announcements may also come on digital tax accounts, and a further simplification of the UK tax, following the establishment of the Office of Tax Simplification.
Overall, we are not expecting anything radical for small businesses to emerge from this year’s Budget, however, George Osborne the same as most Chancellors: he likes to pull a rabbit out of the hat on Budget day. Don’t rule out a big measure to fuel the growth of new and growing companies. In the unlikely event that happens, we’ll let you know.
Oliver Deed is an Account Director at Snapdragon Consulting