Reaction to Autumn statement

South Wales Argus: Cennydd Thomas, corporate finance manager at South Wales-based chartered accountants UHY Hacker Young Cennydd Thomas, corporate finance manager at South Wales-based chartered accountants UHY Hacker Young

by Cennydd Thomas, corporate finance manager at South Wales-based chartered accountants UHY Hacker Young.

THIS year’s Autumn Statement was more of a re-cap of existing Government plans than an announcement of any major new initiatives.

From a Welsh perspective, it was encouraging to hear the Government’s confirmation of initial support for Wylfa Newydd, a development which will provide a welcome economic boost and create new jobs in North Wales.

There were several interesting announcements which will impact UK businesses and consumers. Lower earners will see their basic personal allowance rise from £9,440 to £10, 500, a confirmation of the £112 increase for the majority of tax payers announced in March.

Married or civil partnership couples will gain an extra £1,000-a-year tax free allowance, though this may present problems for those on benefits.

The announcements include an outline of plans to reduce household energy bills by £50 a year; plans to create an extra 20,000 apprentices, and the removal of the 0.5% stamp duty on the purchase of shares of companies on London’s junior stock market.

The acceleration of the proposed increase in the age of retirement was very contentious. People are living longer and it could be argued that it makes sense that the proportion of life spent in retirement remains at about a third of one’s adult life. However, those working in more physically demanding roles are likely to struggle.

The cut in business rates is welcome, but will only equate to a few hundred pounds saving per year for most small companies. The scrapping of employers’ National Insurance contributions on employees under 21 will be a big boost, particularly in the catering sector.

Given the encouraging rises in projected economic growth, I would have liked to have seen the Chancellor be more bullish, such as introducing enhanced capital allowances to boost businesses perhaps on the cusp of growth, and may just need a slight nudge to convince him that now is the right time to dust off those investment plans.

 

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