In front of the Commons today Chancellor George Osborne delivered his Autumn Statement, outlining how he hopes to aid Britain’s economic recovery. Beset by grim financial news all week, Osborne needed to deliver a solid plan for growth and meaningful legislative change to help the UK’s freelancers, contractors and small businesses.
After initially being laughed back into his seat following an overly optimistic opening statement, the Chancellor went on to detail the state of the UK economy. As you would expect, he highlighted the current Government’s achievements, including a 25% cut of the deficit in 2 years, and an additional 1.2 million private sector jobs in the same period (600,000 more than predicted).
It wasn’t all sunshine and lollipops though – Osborne shared the results of an OBR forecast that cut growth projections significantly. Importantly, he confirmed that overall UK debt will not begin to fall until after the next election – missing a key Government target. The message was clear, however; the economy is recovering, and we have a long road ahead of us.
Employment is expected to keep rising, and the Chancellor revealed the UK now has a greater proportion of its population in employment than either the Eurozone or the US.
Like last year there was little to be pleased about for freelancers and contractors.
The Small Business Bank, designed to house the Government’s various investment and incentive schemes, will go ahead with around £1 billion in funding – although quite where those funds are destined to go is as yet unknown.
The personal allowance will be rising more than originally announced, up to £9,440 from next April instead of the planned £9,205, and the planned 3 pence per litre fuel duty hike in January has been abolished – good news for those of us driving regularly!
The Chancellor confirmed his rather dubious shares-for-rights scheme will go ahead, and also announced a further 1% reduction in the Main Rate of Corporation Tax (that’s the one the vast majority of freelancers are not on) from April 2014.
One ray of light in the announcement was a ten-fold increase in capital allowances from £25,000 to £250,000 – good news for those with excess cash sloshing around they wish to invest in their business!
We’re still digesting the new rules set out in the Autumn Statement, and will have more coverage coming shortly!
Photo by altogetherfool