Rate cut brings cheer to high street

The government laid out its legislative plans for the year ahead in the pre-Christmas Queen’s Speech. It’s no surprise that Brexit will dominate. Of the more than 30 bills announced in the Queen’s Speech, seven were on the UK’s departure from the EU.

However, there was some cheer for small businesses. In a bid to boost the ailing high street, half a million independent shops, restaurants, pubs and cinemas will benefit from a cut in business rates from April. Standard retailer discounts will rise from 33 per cent to 50 per cent, it was announced.

The government has also confirmed its commitment to a review of business rates.

It will also bring forward measures to raise the national insurance threshold and increasing the national living wage as well as encouraging flexible work.

Other measures to support business contained in the speech include increasing tax credits for research and development and establishing a National Skills Fund. New laws will accelerate the delivery of gigabit-capable broadband.

Businesses will now be looking to the new government’s first Budget, which is predicted to take place early in the year.

During the campaign Boris Johnson and his party committed to helping small business with spiralling labour costs and expected Living Wage rises by increasing the Employment Allowance from £3,000 to £4,000.

Boris Johnson and his party committed to helping small business with spiralling labour costs

The party also said it would end the late payment crisis by introducing a reform package put on pause by the election.

The Tories have committed themselves to no increases in the rates of income tax or national insurance. They have said VAT will also remain at the current rate.

And they spoke of a one-year national insurance holiday for firms hiring ex-service personnel.

When it comes to corporation tax, as previously announced by Prime Minister Johnson, the planned cuts to corporation tax next April, from 19 per cent to 17 per cent, will be put on hold.

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