Today marks the date of the final Autumn Statement, the announcement made by HM Treasury to Parliament. Historically, it accompanies the Spring Budget as the second of the two main economic statements that take place every year. This year, however, Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond announced there will be no more Autumn Statements, adding “No other major economy makes hundreds of tax changes twice a year, and neither should we.”
But enough about the Statement itself. What we wanted to know was: how much money is being injected into the lifeblood of the startup community next year, and where exactly is it all going?
£400m invested in the growth of small and medium-sized businesses
Among the most promising news for the small business community was the announcement of a £400 million investment by the government into venture capital funds, via the British Business Bank. This money, it’s explained, will help to convert startups with serious growth potential into “scale-ups” and bolster their ongoing development. For those of you with truly inspired, innovative business ideas, or who are already on a significant growth trajectory, this is designed to help you grow in your own skin - preventing you from being quickly swallowed up by a large corporation instead.
£13m in improving UK business management skills
Hammond announced that the government will go ahead with a proposed review of business management skills. This £13m investment can be interpreted as a long-term investment in British business, and will be supported by large institutional investors.
£23bn in innovation and infrastructure
This £23bn will go towards a brand new National Productivity Investment Fund, aimed to secure the economy for future years by boosting research, development and infrastructure. Hammond signalled that keeping up with the pace of global technological advances must be a top priority for the science and tech fields, and to ensure we have a strong global footing in the coming years, we’ll see an extra £2bn invested in research and development by 2021. This, he added, will directly affect UK businesses, highlighting a particularly positive impact on the transportation and telecommunications industries.
£1bn in digital infrastructure
In efforts to see the UK become “a world leader in 5G” and meet growing business and lifestyle demands, Hammond announced investment in a full-fibre network which will result in better speed, security and reliability. He also said there will be 5G mobile communications trials. Not only that, but from April 2017 the government will introduce 100% business rates relief on new fibre infrastructure.
To encourage British businesses to export, UK Export Finance capacity is being doubled.
Corporation Tax will fall from 20% to 17% by 2021.
There will be no fuel duty rise for the seventh year in a row; Hammond said this will save the average van driver £350.
So there we have it. To close on a similar note to the Statement itself, the message to take home here is that “Britain is open for business”, and that it's the best place in the world to start up your own venture. If you’ve always thought about registering and running a company, perhaps now’s the time to take the leap.