What Measures Will George Osborne Announce In This Year’s Autumn Statement?

What are you doing on Thursday, 5 December?

Have you got anything special planned? Well, we know what we’ll be doing, and it won’t be Christmas-related. Steven Glicher’s accountants will be hanging on every word that Chancellor, George Osborne, utters, because the 5 December, 2013 is the day of the Autumn Statement. At 12.30 the Chancellor will present his third Autumn Statement and set out the government’s economic policy for the next 12 months and outline its longer term plans and aspirations for election year and beyond.

The Autumn Statement will also provide an update on the government’s record and its plans for the economy based on the latest forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

The OBR will also publish its latest report on the UK’s economic and fiscal outlook on the same day and include its latest revised estimates for UK economic growth. The economy seems to be on the mend and all the indications are that the revival is set to continue. So what measures is the Chancellor likely to announce on Thursday? Well, here’s what our accountants are predicting.

  • Tax breaks for employing under 25s.

The government could look to abolish national insurance contributions for businesses which hire job-seeking benefit claimants under the age of 25.

  • Personal Service Companies and IR35.

Tax avoidance has become a real hot potato in recent years, so there’s a possibility we could see another attempt at trying to tackle Personal Service Companies.

  • Personal Allowance.

The government have already achieved their goal of having a personal allowance of £10,000 but Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, wants to go even further and has suggested that anyone on the equivalent of the National Minimum Wage should be removed from a charge to tax altogether.

  • Cap on Benefits.

The government have already introduced caps on weekly benefits, but there is speculation they could amend the caps and reduce them further.

  • Stamp Duty.

The housing market continues to suffer, so there is a possibility that we could we see the stamp duty exemption level raised to encourage more activity.

  • Business Rates.

The small business rates relief is due to be withdrawn in March 2014, but the government are under increased pressure to extend the relief or offer some other incentive to get businesses back into the high street.

  • CGT and non-residents.

It has been argued that the UK’s refusal to impose a tax charge on non UK-residents if they realised a capital gain on the disposal of UK assets mistaken and was an oversight in the UK tax regime. There have been suggestions that this could be addressed in the Autumn Statement.

  • Employee Ownership.

Employee ownership is already a fact, but we could see the government take steps to incentivise adoption of the scheme.

  • Partnerships.

Partnerships may feature in the announcements, and there could be a crackdown on disguised employment and the misuse of losses.

  • Social Investment Relief.

Individuals are already being encouraged to invest in businesses by way of Venture Capital Trusts, Enterprise Investment Scheme and the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, but we could also see the government introduce incentives to invest in social enterprise.

At this stage we can only speculate about what will be said in this week’s statement. We’ll know for sure on Thursday, and will pass on that information to our readers next week. In the meantime it’s the fervent hope of every accountant that the Chancellor will announce some growth strategies to help UK businesses flourish once more.

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