“Britain is walking tall again” said George Osborne as he unveiled 2015’s Budget statement, the last in the current parliament. The Chancellor made clear to the House that the economy is “truly recovering” and is growing faster than any other in the world. Employment is at its highest rate in history with more people than ever having a job in the UK.
The inflation rate has also fallen due to a sharp drop in oil and food prices. This is a boost to the UK economy overall, however there will be substantial negative impact on the transport and food industries. The national debt is set to continue to fall over the coming years.
Along with cuts on beer duty, the new Help to Buy ISA, an increase in the national minimum wage and personal allowance increases, the government has also announced a number of pledges to help small businesses. These include:
- Farmers’ income to be averaged out over five years instead of two for extra protection against tax liabilities.
- Annual tax paper returns to be abolished with improvements in digital tax collection so “people are working for themselves, not for the taxman”.
- A focus on the “Northern Powerhouse” - Improve business and investment in Northern regions. Greater Manchester and Cambridge councils are to keep 100% earned in business rates. The Chancellor is asking for other regions to come forward.
- Mentioned before the Budget, there will be a review into the overall business rates system (which could including scrapping it altogether for micro businesses).
The government is also clamping down on tax evasion, which means HMRC will be sending out more Accelerated Payments Notices (APNs) to businesses and individuals that have been involved in various schemes. See our APN page if you are affected.
Overall, it’s good news for the UK economy. Of course, Osborne can only give away a few pledges as the general election is coming up and the situation could very well change!