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Autumn Statement 2015: A 500-word summary for entrepreneurs and SME business owners

Digital tax system plans

As initially outlined in March 2015, new digital tax accounts will be implemented providing a real-time view of tax affairs. In the Autumn Statement, a 1.3bn investment into HMRC was unveiled, with access to digital tax accounts for all small businesses by 2016-17.

By 2020, the government will require most businesses, self-employed and landlords to keep track of taxes digitally and update HMRC at least quarterly.

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Business-led body for apprenticeships and levy details

Again, as first laid out in previous Budget statements, a new apprenticeship levy will be introduced in April 2017. Details now show it will be set at a rate of 0.5 per cent of an employers paybill. However, each will receive an allowance of 15,000 to offset against the levy, meaning 98 per cent of employers won’t pay.

Furthermore, a new business-led body to set standards will be set up by business secretary Sajid Javid to oversee the creation of three million apprenticeships.

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New GAAR legislation

The chancellor announced the introduction of a new penalty of 60 per cent of the tax due to be charged in all cases successfully tackled by the General Anti Abuse Rule (GAAR) and will make small changes to the GAARs procedure to improve its ability to tackle marketed avoidance schemes.

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Reduction in the budget of BIS by 17 per cent

Alongside the Department for Energy, it was revealed the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills will have its budget cut by 17 per cent.

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New childcare spending, but with restrictions

By 2019-20, the government will be spending over 6bn a year supporting parents with their childcare costs.

However, The Autumn Statement and Spending Review set an upper income limit per parent of 100,000 and a minimum weekly income level per parent equivalent to 16 hours.

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Catapult centres investment

Spending on Catapult innovation centres including Sheffield Universitys Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre will go up, as administered through Innovate UK.
Furthermore, spending on science will rise by 500m from 4.75bn.

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26 new enterprise zones

Having first been created in 2012, Osborne announced the extension of the enterprise zones initiative with 26 new sites. Over a third of the new zones will be based in the North doubling the size of the programme in the Northern Powerhouse.

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R&D grants and loans

Taking a leaf out of France’s book, the government will be offering 165m of new loans to companies instead of grants. This is part of the 17 per cent cut to the budget of BIS, and is tied to money divvied out by Innovate UK.

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