Now the dust has settled on the autumn budget, we can take a look at it with fresh eyes and consider what it might mean for social enterprises.
Few could argue that this budget had any barnstorming announcements, but there were a few nuggets business owners should be aware of.
However, we know how demanding running a social enterprise is, and fully understand if you haven’t had the time to digest the important detail.
To help, we’ve sifted through and found what we believe to be the most important pieces of autumn budget news for social entrepreneurs!
A boost in regional investment
Philip Hammond announced several funding initiatives designed to improve connectivity and reduce congestion.
The £1.7bn pot will be split in half, with one chunk allocated on a per capita basis and the other sent in the direction of city transportation projects.
The West Midlands appears to benefit most significantly from this, with a £250m investment fund likely to land on its doorstep. Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will receive £74m, £243m will head Greater Manchester’s way, £134m to Liverpool City Region, £59m for Tees Valley and, finally, £80m for West of England.
No change to the VAT reg threshold
If you’ve been fearing a change to the VAT registration threshold that might suddenly throw your social enterprise into that territory, you can breathe a sigh of relief – for now.
Hammond announced that the threshold would remain at £85,000 for two years from next April.
A faster change to business rates indexation
The planned switch in indexation (the way inflation is measured) from RPI to CPI will now take place on 1st April 2018 – two years earlier than originally planned.
Anyone operating in the pub trade will also continue to benefit from the £1,000 business rate discount with a rateable value of up to £100,000. And in more general terms, future business rate revaluations will take place every three years instead of five.
National Living Wage rise
From April next year, the National Living Wage will increase to £7.83 – an increase of 4.4%.
Tech ‘scale-up’ investment
A £500m investment fund will be made available and applied to “a range of initiatives from artificial intelligence, to 5G and full fibre broadband”. This is in a bid to ensure the scaling tech start-up scene is able to reach its full potential.
The government is understandably keen to secure the UK’s world-leading position in digital innovation – a point made by Hammond with the announcement of a £21m investment over the next four years that’s designed to turn the UK into a “Tech Nation”.
The idea is to help regional tech companies and start-ups with their growth ambitions, with the initiative rolling out a dedicated sector programme for leading UK tech specialisms in areas such as artificial intelligence.
And finally: an extra £3bn for Brexit
There’s still little known about how this country’s exit from the European Union will pan out, but the announcement of more funds for the preparation of Brexit suggests we’re in for a long – and perhaps bumpy – ride.
The chancellor announced that an additional £3bn that will be used to “ensure a smooth transition”. Principally, it’ll be diverted towards preparing the border, creating new trade relationships and the future immigration system.
Philip Hammond’s second ever budget was never going to set the headlines on fire, but every social entrepreneur should be aware of the points above. Pass it on!