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Autumn Statement 2016: What are businesses saying?

5 min read

23 November 2016

Former special projects journalist

Today the chancellor Philip Hammond announced the Autumn Statement and unveiled a range of tax reforms and investments. Here’s what businesses had to say about the statement.

Today the chancellor Philip Hammond announced the Autumn Statement and unveiled a range of tax reforms and investments. Here’s what businesses had to say about the statement.

Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder, FreeAgent, said: “There’s not much good news in the Autumn Statement for small business owners – and especially for contractors. Despite the chancellor announcing more funds to develop management skills, a rise in venture capital funds through the British Business Bank and an increase in rural rate relief, there’s actually very little to be cheerful about.”

Adam Twidell, CEO and founder, PrivateFly, said: “It’s positive to see the chancellor doubling investment in export finance capacity as well as plans to boost management skills and injecting more investment in VC funds. Fast-growing tech firms in the UK need to have full support to be able to grow to scale.”

Chris Manson, CEO, Newable, said: “The introduction of the National Productivity Investment Fund is a real boost for the UK’s innovative SME community. The chancellor’s intentions to target digital communications as well as research and development sends a clear message that the government wishes to establish the UK as a world leader in science and innovation.”

Graham Marley, chief executive, Let’s Do Business Group, said: “It was a measured approach which lacked the bombshell moment often delivered by George Osborne, but is probably more appropriate for the economy at this time. The highlights for businesses are the extra funding to support export finance and £400m fund to support tech firms through venture capital.”

Philip Johnson, director of Locate East Sussex, said: “We welcome the chancellor’s investment into transport and housing and very much hope East Sussex is a beneficiary of this additional funding. However, more support is urgently needed to help job creation within the new communities that are being developed. It is important the investment to support 5G and broadband provision goes towards improving coverage and reducing ‘not spots’ in rural areas, as well as making networks faster. “

Niels Turfboer, managing director UK, Spotcap, said: “SMEs account for 99.9 per cent of the UK’s private sector companies and will contribute £217bn to the economy by 2020. These companies need adequate incentives from the government to execute their growth strategies with confidence. The Autumn Statement fell short in providing specific initiatives for this.”

John Miles, CEO and co-founder, Health and Parenting, said: “For the first time, the tax-free childcare scheme has opened up support towards childcare costs for self-employed workers, entrepreneurs and those working part time. As a digital health company that works a lot with freelance mothers, we expect to have access to a much larger pool of highly talented professionals who mould their careers around children.”

Carlo Gualandri, CEO and founder, Soldo, said: “We need to fortify the foundations of our economy to prepare for the uncertain times ahead. The government is clearly trying to make the UK look like an attractive place to do business and this will provide a much needed boost to the image of the country post-Brexit. Lowering corporation tax will give businesses a breather, while ensuring that foreign companies view a move to UK shores in a favourable light.”

Ishaan Malhi, CEO and founder, Trussle, said: “We needed a radical injection of new houses in the UK from today’s Autumn Statement, and the chancellor certainly hasn’t ducked the issue. £7.2bn to support the construction of new homes and a housing white paper which will soon tell us exactly how he plans to address the long term underlying issues.”

Craig Harman, tax specialist, Perry’s Chartered Accountants, said: “The government has confirmed it is still committed to raising the tax free personal allowance and higher rate of income tax as well as reducing the rate of corporation tax which will be welcome news for individuals and businesses already paying their fair share of taxes. However, the recent trend of cracking down on tax avoidance is set to continue with tougher penalties to be introduced for those deliberately investing in such arrangements.”