Autumn Statement Provides Much Needed Support for Business Growth.

The Chancellor has published the Autumn Statement, and he has certainly listened to the calls for a focus on business investment and growth. The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) had 3 main asks of the Chancellor: Reform the planning system, upgrade the energy grid and make full expensing permanent. Jeremy Hunt has backed businesses and listened to the policy asks of the BCC’s Chamber network.

The decision to make full expensing permanent will be a boost to companies wanting to invest. Our research shows that 34% of businesses have already benefited from the policy, rising to 47% for manufacturers.

The BCC has long called for the electricity grid to be upgraded to help companies transition to net-zero. In a recent net-zero survey, more than a third (37%) of businesses told us they were not getting what they needed from the grid, in terms of energy supply and connectivity.

The planning reforms and investment announced today will help tackle the huge infrastructure problem we have. Businesses trying to invest in a low carbon future will now be looking for a speedier path to grid connection.

The focus of the Autumn Statement, the cuts to business taxes including maintaining some business rate reliefs and an increase in the National Living Wage were also positive to businesses and this will help solve the labour market issues we are consistently hearing in Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

The key highlights of the statement are:

  • National Insurance rate cut from 12 per cent to 10 per cent
  • Benefits to rise in line with inflation
  • Alcohol duty frozen until next August
  • National Living Wage for over-21s will increase from £10.42 to £11.44 an hour
  • State pension to rise by 8.5 per cent
  • Plant and machinery tax break made permanent

Business investment is vital to allow our local businesses to flourish and it is encouraging that the government are placing great emphasis in providing the tools for businesses to invest and grow. In our latest QES survey, only 20% of businesses had increased their investment in the previous 3 months. We anticipate an increase in this figure in future surveys. Please have your say in our latest QES survey that closes on Monday 27th November and let us know how your business is doing.