Budget: Details & Reaction

Main Budget Points (for more details, see the links at the bottom of this article)

  • £435 million of additional, centrally-funded support between 2017/18 and 2020/21
    • £300m Hardship fund for discretionary relief (to be allocated from local authorities)
    • Support for Small Business Rate (SBR) Relief recipients to limit increases in their bills to the greater of £600 or the real terms transitional relief cap for small businesses each year
  • £690m competition for local authorities to tackle urban congestion, £490m available by autumn 2017 
  • From the £220m fund addressing pinch points on national road network (announced in 2016), £90m for the North
  • Introduction of ‘T-level’ qualifications – giving parity with A-levels’:
    • 50% increase in hours of training for 16-19 technical education
    • £500m additional funding per year
  • On business tax, the main rate of Class 4 NICs up from 9% to 10% in 2018 and to 11% in 2019
  • Self-employment: Dividend Allowance cut to £2,000 from £5,000 in 2018.

Budget Reaction – Stephen Wright, Chairman of West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said:

Stephen Wright, Chairman of West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce
Stephen Wright

“This opportunity to fix the broken business rates system has been missed.  Even with the measures announced today, improvement could still be a year away for some.

“That said, support for those hit hardest by business rate rises is welcomed.  We hope that the new discretionary fund for Councils to offer relief is rolled out quickly and effectively, but there is still a need for major reform of a broken system here.  Tie-ing in business rates to property values is an out-of-date way to fund local services and needs a big overhaul.

“The measures to support technical and vocational education are also welcomed, as the change to move to parity with academic qualifications is too slow. Support for digital connectivity and better broadband is also supported.

“We fail to see how hiking the self-employed national insurance level and reducing their dividend allowances supports entrepreneurship, so that’s disappointing.   We understand why there is a reticence to do more at this time, with Brexit negotiations about to be triggered and the shift to an annual Autumn Budget; but the Government needs to remember that business investment could be key to the success of economic stability in the months and years to come.”

Bradford accountancy firm, Naylor Wintersgill, added:

“The Chancellor delivered a positive slant, helping small firms on business rates, increasing social care funding (and no future ‘death tax!) and additional spending on roads – hopefully including Yorkshire!  However, increasing National Insurance for the self-employed and reducing tax-free dividends are not good news.  Hopefully, businesses can now plan ahead with reasonable certainty – but with a watchful eye on the full effects of Brexit.”

For Budget details, a two-page table, separated into subject areas, can be found here.

An economic summary is available here.

The reaction of the British Chambers of Commerce is here.