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In Focus: The Chancellor's Autumn Statement

26/11/2015

Infrastructure, business rates and tax credits were the focus of the Chancellor's Autumn Statement.

James Sage, Head of Corporate at FBC Manby Bowdler, said businesses in the West Midlands may be disappointed by the detail of the spending review.

“There had been hopes that he would look again at the Annual Investment Allowance which is due to be cut to £200,000 from £500,000.

“This has been one of the ways our businesses, particularly those in the manufacturing sector, had secured investment for capital projects.

“However the commitment to the same level of support for aerospace and automotive industries for the next decade is to be welcomed as is the focus on infrastructure projects which will benefit many of the supply chain businesses we have here in the Black Country.”

Partner Stuart Rea, based at the firm’s Shrewsbury office, said businesses in Shropshire would welcome the extension of rate relief.

“When the vast majority of our businesses in Shropshire employ fewer than five people, the decision to extend the small business rate relief scheme for another year is good news. Allowing local authorities to set their own business rates is a radical move, and it will be interesting to see how these fare when local authority budgets are so strapped amid rising costs of other departments, particularly adult social care and children’s services, which can only increase between now and 2020."

“The new apprenticeship levy will also help the region's SMEs but is also a potential extra cost to larger employers.

“Mr Osborne is giving with one hand and taking away with the other. Although the commitment to fund 3 million more apprenticeships at a time when Shropshire manufacturers, in particular, are struggling to find people with the appropriate skills is welcomed – it may be that the levy will be an extra burden on those bigger businesses.

“However as the aim is to spread the cost of making sure we have a skilled workforce, the move will undoubtedly benefit smaller and medium-sized businesses.”

The new apprenticeship levy will be introduced from April 2017 and the Chancellor has set the rate at 0.5% of an employer’s paybill.

Every employer will receive a £15,000 allowance to offset against the levy – which means over 98% of all employers - and all businesses with paybills of less than £3 million - will pay no levy at all.

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