George Osborne described his final pre-election Budget as one that “backs the self-employed and the small business owner.”

The official economic plans were announced this afternoon and revealed some surprises as well as recaps, but here are the issues that affect your business.


Business Rates

He revealed the Government’s plans to create devolution of business rate powers to local councils, first Greater Manchester then Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Cheshire East.The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that the four areas will become testing grounds, with plans for local authorities to receives 100% of business rates growth – as opposed to the current 50%.

Alcohol DutyBeer duty has received a “penny off a pint for the third year in a row.” While the duty on cider and spirits such as Scotch whisky will be cut by 2%. But tobacco was not mentioned in the Budget and the current duty means that it is set to rise at 2% above inflation, equivalent to 16p on 20 pack of cigarettes. Its absence received criticism from the ACS. “Unfortunately, the further increase in tobacco duty will only serve to support criminals in the illicit market,” said chief executive James Lowman.

 

Budget

 

 National Minimum Wage

The 20p national minimum wage increase, announced earlier this week, was celebrated by the Tories. But Labour party leader Ed Miliband reminded the Chancellor that he did not reach his £7 hourly target – a relief to some retailers who understand the impact the negative affect it has on their business investment.

Other key areas included:

  • Petrol duty frozen, September’s increases have been cancelled.
  • Support for local regional newspapers

 Watch the Budget below