The Autumn Statement 2012: Key measures for small businesses

  • THE BIG ONE: Corporation tax will be cut to 21% from April 2014 (a further 1% off the planned reduction). Corporation tax for businesses with profits of £300,000 or less still only pay the small profits rate of 20%.
  • The Small Business Rate relief scheme - which currently enables 350,000 small firms to pay no business rates at all - will be extended by a year to April 2014.
  • The Annual Investment Allowance in plant and machinery is increased tenfold, from  £25,000 up to a whopping £250,000 worth of investment now eligible for 100% relief. This capital allowance will cover the total annual investment undertaken by 99% of all the business in Britain," Osborne said.
  • Tax relief for the employee shareholder scheme was confirmed.
  • The new Business Bank will have £1 billion of extra capital, "which will lever in private lending to help small and medium sized firms and bring together existing schemes".
  • New money to support the Local Enterprise Partnerships (details to be announced in the Spending Review). From April 2015 more of the funding that currently goes to local transport, housing, skills and getting people back to work will go into a single pot that LEPs can bid for.
  • More money will go into the Regional Growth Fund, which is "helping businesses create half a million new jobs" - although the amount was not specified.
  • Exporting gets a boost with a new £1.5bn export finance facility to support the purchase of British exports.
  • Small businesses looking to trade internationally should benefit from the boost to UK Trade& Investment (the government department responsible for encouraging exporting and inward investment) - it will receive 25% more funding a year.
  • There will be more "support" to "extend our global lead" in aerospace and the supply chains of advance manufacturing, although the shape of this support was not specified.
  • The government will consult on allowing investment in SME equity markets like AIM to be held directly in stocks and shares ISAs, to encourage investment in growing businesses.
  • The fuel duty increase of 3% planned for January has been completely cancelled.

Personal wealth:

  • The higher rate tax threshold will be increased by 1% in the tax years 2014-15 and 2015-16, so the threshold for the 40% rate will go up from £41,450 to £41,865 and then to £42,285.
  • The capital gains tax annual exempt amount will be increased by 1% over the same period, reaching £11,100.
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