As anticipated the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, addressed the key issue of business rates evaluation. Three ways of easing the pain are intended to soften the blow with £435 in government funding set aside to finance the package. A £300 million discretionary support fund will be enable local authorities to support the most vulnerable business owners – giving direct financial support to those who will face the biggest increases in rates. Simultaneously those small business owners losing their current rate relief after the re-evaluation will be supported by a cap to business rate increases (no business taken out of the relief scheme will be charged more than £50 per month). And public houses with a rateable value of less than £100,000 will get a £1,000 discount.
On the digital obligations for small companies, the Chancellor announced that there will be a one-year delay on the introduction of quarterly reporting for businesses with a turnover below the VAT registration threshold.
On a less positive note, companies have been hit by the decision to limit the tax free dividend allowance from £5,000 to £2,000 – targeting those small company owners who pay a small salary but pay out large dividends.