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Autumn Statement 2014: Key announcements for SMEs in under 500 words

3 min read

03 December 2014

Former editor

If you weren't able to tune into George Osborne's speech, and don't have time to read news story after news story, here are the headline announcements.

While being the last Autumn Statement address before the 2015 general election, the chancellor perhaps surprised business owners with the amount of good news he delivered.

Business rate review

The big news is that business rates are going to be reviewed, in an effort to provide more breathing space for struggling high street companies. George Osborne wants to hear from business groups on the issue, as the government looks to shake up taxes that are currently calculated on the rental value of a property and have come in for fierce criticism in recent times.

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Infrastructure investment 

If you’ve driven over a pot hole or got stuck in traffic recently then you’ll be pleased to hear that £15bn has been earmarked for improvements to the road system. If Britain is to continue with its economic growth then a smooth-running transport network is key.

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£900m for SMEs

A lot has been said on the effectiveness of the plethora of business lending schemes on offer – from the Regional Growth Fund, to the Funding for Lending Scheme to the British Business Bank. But one thing is for sure, the government is not afraid to pump more money into them.

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Google tax 

None of us can really live without Google, Facebook and Amazon, but we all want to see them paying their share while in the UK. A new ‘diverted profit tax’ was contained in the Autumn Statement, meaning there will be a 25 per cent tax on UK profits that previously had been artificially shifted overseas.

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R&D 

Osborne and David Cameron are keen to maintain the global position of the UK as a centre for educational and innovative excellence. As such, the chancellor has increased R&D tax reliefs for small and medium-sized companies from 225 per cent to 230 per cent.

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Apprenticeships

To support businesses who take young people on the government is abolishing national insurance contributions for employing anyone under the age of 21. Now, those employers brining in apprentices under the age of 25 will also be exempt from the charge.

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P2P aid

Peer-to-peer is gaining more column inches by the day, and now retail investors will have a little bit more of the risk taken out. No longer will they be required to pay income tax on any bad debt generated through the activity

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First time exporters

Businesses looking to export for the first time will be able to access a new £45 million funding package. Those going to the fast-growing economies, further cash will be available.

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