Autumn Statement: Government “committed” to supporting the High Street through recession

17th November 2022 | Jack Oliver

The government has announced its commitment to small businesses and the high street, as Chancellor Jeremy Hunt revealed the UK is “already in a recession,” at the House of Commons today.

The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement pledged targeted support to help with business rates costs worth £13.6bn over five years. The statement also declared that business rates multipliers will be frozen in 2023-24.

Setting out his economic plan, just weeks after predecessor Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget, Hunt said the UK faced “unprecedented global headwinds.”

He confirmed that support for eligible retail, hospitality, and leisure businesses is being extended and increased from 50% to 75% business rates relief, up to £110,000 per business in 2023-24.

While 70% of actively trading companies will not see an increase in the rate of corporation tax they pay due to the small profits rate, and 40% of employers will not be affected by decisions on the threshold for employer national insurance contributions.

The Chancellor said: “It is fair that large employers pay the most.”

Retailers have suffered recently due to widespread unemployment, inflation rates, energy bills, and the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

Some retailers have claimed these measures were not enough to help the struggling sector. Kay Buxton, chief executive of Marble Arch London BID, accused the Government of having “missed a trick” by not introducing tax-free shopping for international customers.

“We are disappointed that the Chancellor has not offered more support to businesses in the hospitality and leisure industry”, she added.

The Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves, claimed the Conservatives had “given up on growth”.

She added that a “serious long-term plan” is needed to grow the economy.

More industry reaction to follow…


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