Autumn Statement 2017

Philip Hammond has delivered his second Budget as chancellor. Here are the key points of his speech which small businesses should be aware of.

22/11/2017, news

Personal taxation and wages

  • Tax-free personal allowance on income tax to rise to £11,850 in line with inflation in April 2018
  • Higher-rate tax threshold to increase to £46,350
  • Short-haul air passenger duty rates and long-haul economy rates to be frozen, paid for by an increase on premium-class tickets and on private jets
  • National Living Wage to rise in April 2018 by 4.4%, from £7.50 an hour to £7.83.

The state of the economy

  • Growth forecast for 2017 slashed from 2% to 1.5%
  • Forecasts for 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 revised down to 1.4%, 1.3%, 1.5% and 1.6% respectively.
  • Productivity growth revised down by an average of 0.7% a year up to 2023
  • Annual rate of CPI inflation forecast to fall from peak of 3% towards 2% target later this year
  • Another 600,000 people forecast to be in work by 2022
  • £3bn to be set aside over next two years to prepare UK for every possible outcome as UK leaves EU
  • Sharp cut to UK growth forecast

The state of the public finances

  • Annual government borrowing £49.9bn this year, £8.4bn lower than forecast in March
  • Borrowing forecast to fall in real terms in the subsequent five years from £39.5bn in 2018-19 to £25.6bn in 2022-23.
  • But projected borrowing has been revised up for 2019-2020, 2020-2021 and 2021-22, compared to March, due to the weaker economic outlook and expected lower tax yields
  • Public sector net borrowing forecast to fall from 3.8% of GDP last year to 2.4% this year, then 1.9%, 1.6%, 1.5% and 1.3% in subsequent years, reaching 1.1% in 2022-23.
  • Debt will peak at 86.5% of GDP this year, then fall to 86.4% next year; then 86.1%, 83.1% and 79.3% in subsequent years, reaching 79.1% in 2022-23.

Business and digital

  • VAT threshold for small business to remain at £85,000 for two years
  • £500m support for 5G mobile networks, full fibre broadband and artificial intelligence
  • £540m to support the growth of electric cars, including more charging points
  • A further £2.3bn allocated for investment in research and development
  • Rises in business rates to be pegged to CPI measure of inflation, not higher RPI, a cut of £2.3bn
  • Digital economy royalties relating to UK sales which are paid to a low-tax jurisdiction to be subject to income tax as part of tax avoidance clampdown. Expected to raise about £200m a year
  • Capital gains tax relief for overseas buyers of UK commercial property to be phased out, with exemptions for foreign pension funds
  • Charges on single-use plastic items to be looked at
  • £30m to develop digital skills distance learning courses
  • Business rate rises to be eased
  • Tech giants targeted over VAT payments
  • Research money central to Budget

Source:, 2017