21 March 2014

What does the Budget mean for your business?

It may be the tax cuts on bingo and beer that have grabbed the headlines but what does the 2014 Budget mean for your business?

It may be the tax cuts on bingo and beer that have grabbed the headlines but what does the 2014 Budget mean for your business?

Manufacturers and exporters are set to benefit considerably, with Chancellor George Osborne sett out plans to make business growth easier both in the UK and further afield. This includes investing an additional £1.5 billion in the UK Export Finance Scheme to make it easier for British companies to export their products overseas.

Other measures include doubling the tax-free annual corporate investment allowance from £250,000 to £500,000 until the end of 2015. The move will cost the Government £2 billion and Mr Osborne says 99.8% of businesses will be eligible for 100% of the allowance.

John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, says: “Consistent allowances help companies invest with confidence. Given that business investment remains far below its pre-recession level, it is fantastic that the Chancellor has doubled the amount covered to £500,000 from 2015.

"That will give many growing and medium-sized companies the confidence to push ahead with investments they’ve long wanted to get off the drawing board.”

However, not everyone was happy with the measures introduced. The Institute of Fiscal Studies indicated disappointment that many of the measures are temporary, therefore not providing investment incentives for the longer term. 

Tax relief for start-up investors

The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS), which gives tax relief to people who invest in small and startup businesses is now permanent, along with the capital gains tax 50% reinvestment initiative. Since April 2012, the SEIS has helped 1,600 companies raise more than £135 million of business funding.

From next month, firms that are making a loss will benefit from 14.5% research and development tax relief, up from 11%. And social enterprises will be given income tax relief of 30%.

While there haven't been changes to business rates, which could have benefited many businesses, particularly in the north and midlands, enterprise zones are now guaranteed until March 2018. These are areas where businesses that move there are given incentives, including discounts on their business rates and larger capital allowances. At the moment there are 24 enterprise zones all over the country and official figures show they have attracted a total of £1.2 billion in private investment so far, creating 7,500 jobs. There will also be a new enterprise zone created in Northern Ireland.

Extending apprenticeship scheme

One popular measure for small businesses will be the pledge to double the number of apprentices and develop new degree-level apprenticeships. Mr Osborne has pledged to expand the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers Scheme (AGE), supporting over 100,000 more apprenticeships. This scheme offers employers grants of £1,500 for each of up to ten apprentices, providing the business hasn't hired an apprentice in the last 12 months.