On 25th November 2015, Chancellor George Osborne delivered his Autumn Statement to Parliament. The statement reviewed the United Kingdom’s economic performance over the previous year and forecasted its future viability, as well as outlined several taxation changes. While the following is not a comprehensive list of all the topics in the statement, it does highlight those which are specific to businesses:
- A rise in the basic state pension: Beginning in April 2016, the basic state pension will rise to £119.30 per week.
- A reduction in the cost of green improvements: Beginning in April 2017, a new, cheaper energy supplier obligation will come into force in an effort to reduce carbon emissions. This is predicted to lower annual energy bill costs by £30 by the year 2017.
- Details released about the Apprenticeship Levy: The Apprenticeship Levy will come into force in April 2017, at a rate of 0.5 per cent of an employer’s pay bill. Additionally, the levy will only affect employers that earn at least £3 million annually.
- Expanded flood protection for homes: The government will spend an estimated £2.3 billion on more than 1,500 flood defence schemes across the country.
- Motorists will no longer be able to receive cash compensation for minor whiplash claims: To reduce the number of fraudulent whiplash claims, the government is ending the right to cash compensation. Additionally, more injuries will be allowed to go through small claims court and the upper limit for these claims will be increased to £5,000. These changes are expected to reduce the annual cost for motor insurance policies by £40.
- Strengthening of local growth and enterprise zones: The government will invest £12 billion in order to encourage the growth of local businesses and to extend the 26 Enterprise Zones that are already established.
For more details on the Autumn Statement 2015, read the Chancellor’s full statement at www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/autumn-statement-and-spending-review-2015.