Autumn Statement Repurposes Growth Forecasts
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt claimed he was delivering an ‘Autumn Statement for Growth’ which backed business and rewards workers to get Britain growing.
But did he? And does it? Which are the elements which will benefit financial services providers, lenders and clients and benefit investors domestically and abroad.
Fiducia Commercial Network Managing Director (UK) Mark Grant watched Mr Hunt’s speech and gave his immediate reaction.
He said: “As a business, like all businesses, we listen to these Autumn Statements and full Budgets with an ear for what affects us and our business, and our family finances.
“We also have the benefit of news sites and channels simultaneously projecting to us OBR reports and forecasts that are released at the same time that the Chancellor stands up and speaks.
“So when Mr Hunt highlights the upgraded growth forecast for this year – it appears alongside the Office of Budget Responsibility’s (OBR) downgraded growth forecasts for 2024, 2025 and 2026 on our screens.
“He introduced 110 measures which, he promises, will promote growth to the tune of £20bln in the economy which sounds impressive and a scale growth project – and thank goodness he didn’t recite all 110 measures at the despatch box!
“This should be in the context of the OBR’s forecast of £40bln being wiped off the economy between 2024 and 2026.
Inflation forecasts also continue in the right direction – lower! 2.8% by the end of 2024, and to 2% by 2025. The news outlet pundits reminded us that March’s forecast had sat at 0.9% by the end of 2024 but we will again be cheered by this measure lowering.”
Planning Laws Change
“Like Poppy the dog, with her Teddy in the Chancellor’s ‘work from home’ snap, we will continue to look on the bright side of life.
“Planning laws will be changed to make it easier for investors and developers to convert larger residential properties into Multi Unit Blocks (MUBs) and Homes for Multiple Occupation (HMOs) – something to be cheered where house prices are driving investors and landlords to seek some value.
“Repurposing properties in this way, or from commercial to residential, allows them to add some immediate capital value potentially and diversify their income.
“The most significant boost for capital investment in businesses of modern times was initially called the ‘Super Deduction’ as we grew out of the pandemic period, and then from March 2023 this was replaced by ‘Full Expensing’ for a three year period.
“The tax incentive on investment allows a business to claim 100% of spend on qualifying assets against their corporation tax liabilities – and is a significant incentive compared to anything available to SMEs in this country previously.
Time Limit Removed
“The fact that the 3 year time limit has been now removed and this measure will be made permanent will be a significant long term boost for business investment.
“It will support business confidence and allow them to plan for long term sustained investment and growth, where there is no longer a cliff edge before which capital investment had to be made.
“Rounded off with ‘one for the road’ from the Chancellor of a cut to employee’s National Insurance contributions from 12% to 10% there may well be something of interest to most people in this Autumn statement.
“But a reduction in red tape on property repurposing’ planning, combined with permanent capital investment tax incentives certainly put a positive slant on the statement from a commercial finance perspective.”
Mark Grant, Managing Director – UK, Fiducia Commercial Network.
© Images courtesy of HM Treasury and are copyright of HM Treasury. Main image by Rory Arnold / No 10 Downing Street