On 23 March 2022, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak gave his Spring Statement speech.
It came ahead of the start of the new UK tax year on 6 April – and there is no question that the present burden on businesses is substantial, as taxpayers start paying for the Government’s costs incurred in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
What measures has the Government set out in support of UK firms?
In its Business Support Factsheet, the Government said that it would “always stand behind businesses in the UK, which is why we’ve announced further measures at Spring Statement to support them in the uncertain months ahead.”
The Government added that as part of its efforts to bolster UK-wide growth and productivity, it had also outlined “plans to incentivise firms to train more, invest more, and innovate more through cuts to tax”.
To the end of achieving the above goals, the Government laid out the following Spring Statement measures that it said would be of benefit to businesses in the UK:
- A 12-month cut in fuel duty on petrol and diesel, by 5p a litre, taking effect from 6pm on 23rd March 2022
- An increase in Employment Allowance from £4,000 to £5,000 – a move the Government said would benefit about 30% of all businesses
- An exemption on business rates for green technology being brought forward; it means such green tech as solar panels and heat pumps will be exempt from business rates from April 2022, for businesses in England only
- Reformation to R&D tax credits to help drive innovation. From April next year, firms will be able to claim relief on the storage of their vital data and pure maths research – a move intended to boost sectors such as AI, robotics, manufacturing, and design
- Plans to encourage increased business investment after the end of the super-deduction in 2023; this relates to a series of already-announced policy changes to the existing capital allowances regime in the UK, with these to be considered by Government before April 2023
The Government said that these announcements would bolster the existing business support package. Those existing measures include – but are not restricted to – eligible firms now being able to receive a temporary business rates relief, and the business rates multiplier being frozen for another year, saving businesses some £4.6 billion over the coming five years.
What has the reaction been from the business world?
Response to the Spring Statement from representatives of UK business were mixed at best. Shevaun Haviland, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), perhaps best summed up the sentiment, describing the announcement as a “missed opportunity to rebuild and renew the economy and ensure business has the resilience to weather the uncertain and volatile times ahead.”
Meanwhile, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI)’s director general, Tony Danker, said to the BBC that there was some good news in the Spring Statement from a longer-term perspective, such as looking into how to bolster business investment and improving the R&D tax credit.
But in terms of more immediate challenges, he added: “We’re going to struggle to help small business owners unless we tackle the energy problem. When it came to help for small businesses, I’m not sure there was enough today.”
Looking forward, make sure you have the right business support professionals by your side
At a time characterised by considerable business uncertainty and not always predictable challenges, as a business owner yourself, you are likely to appreciate advice, guidance and support that will assist your firm in surviving and thriving over the months and years to come.
We can provide such tailored business support solutions here at London Registrars, ranging from directors’ service addresses and the preparation and submission of the annual Confirmation Statement, to the maintenance of statutory registers and the minute book. Simply contact us now to learn more about all the ways our professionals could help you.