Here’s what independent retailers need to know about the Autumn Budget 2018

Chancellor Philip Hammond delivered the Autumn Budget 2018 last week offering positive changes for small independent retailers. Here are the key points you need to know:

Over £1.5 billion to support the high street

The most welcome news from this year’s Budget is that small retailers will see their business rates bills cut by a third for two years from April 2019, saving them £900 million.

What’s more, as part of an ongoing plan, local high streets will benefit from £675 million to improve transport links, re-develop empty shops as homes and offices and restore and re-use old and historic properties.

When added to previous reductions in business rates made since the 2016 Budget, firms will save over £12 billion over the next five years.

A 2 per cent digital services tax on large digital firms

From April 2020, large social media platforms, search engines and online marketplaces will pay a 2 per cent tax on the revenues they earn from UK-based shoppers.

Further changes to the apprenticeship levy to support employers

From April next year, large businesses will be able to invest up to 25 per cent of their apprenticeship levy to support apprentices in their supply chain.

Some employers will pay half of what they currently pay for apprenticeship training – from 10 to 5 per cent. The government will pay the remaining 95 per cent and will announce further details on when this will be available in early 2019.

National Living Wage will increase to £8.21

From April 2019 the National Living Wage will increase from £7.83 an hour to £8.21. This will affect the employees of around 2.4 million workers and is a £690 annual pay rise for a full-time member of staff.

The tax-free Personal allowance will rise to £12,500

The Personal Allowance on income tax will increase by a further £650 in April 2019 to £12,500. This rise comes a year earlier than planned, and will be maintained in 2020. This means a basic rate taxpayer will pay £1,205 less tax in 2019-20 than in 2010-11.