Paul Waite, Chief Executive shares his thoughts on the Autumn Budget.
It seems to have been left to the SME owners, the people responsible for the majority of the wealth created in the UK, to be the custodians of the free market economy.
Despite the state of the Government with all its troubles and the “difficult” BREXIT, in my experience business optimism is high and it certainly is here in Aspen Waite.
We have great clients with great products and services, many of them literally changing our world for the better.
All the talk going into the budget was about the need to build houses, and lots of them. We are massively behind in our house building programme in the UK although you would find it hard to believe in the areas I frequent – significant building in places like Bridgwater, Taunton and Salisbury.
Yesterday we learned that £42 billion has been set aside to boost housing. The real problem is at the lower end of the market (affordable housing). This is an issue that must be resolved.
The real rabbit out of the hat was the abolition of stamp duty for first time buyers. This is worth £5k at the maximum limit to which it applies to £300k. The £300k limit is a great example of the many London centric policies that are in place today. £300k buys one a mansion in many parts of the country.
At Aspen Waite we prove every day that one can run a commercial enterprise in an ethical and caring way. The world is changing in all manner of ways and I am a great believer in embracing change.
The minimum wage debate is a difficult one as I passionately believe that all people deserve an equal opportunity and nobody should be exploited. Nonetheless, raising the minimum wage has a serious impact on the market and will cause serious disruption. The latest rise is 33p or 4.4%.
I am a big fan of having a high annual personal allowance but the current increase is modest. I was disappointed to see no reform to any of the major taxes, especially Inheritance Tax, a tax of envy and punishment for those who have saved or succeeded.
I have been working on a major client’s potential IHT liability recently and the magnitude of the unfairness is staggering.
The reduction in Corporation Tax to 19% was confirmed and it was good to see the Government reaffirming its commitment to Research & Development by increasing its budget generally and introducing a range of special measures. The R&D tax credit for large companies (RDEC) was increased from 11% to 12%, a significant increase, although it rather begs the question why there was nothing extra for SMEs.
The most important measure introduced that applied to companies was the change in the way chargeable gains are taxed. Currently companies enjoy indexation on gains (effectively inflation proofing), but no more. A measure undoubtedly unfair but easy to justify and a subtle tax raiser.
There had been talk of the VAT threshold being reduced but it has been left at £85,000. If we ever get out of the EU, it will be then that we see the full impact of being self-governing (assuming we are, of course) with the ability to change VAT rates, hopefully downwards.
We will, of course, monitor the small print to see if there are any other changes that will affect you, the client.
We act for a number of hauliers and waste companies so another £2.45 on landfill tax will serve to further erode margins; environmentally the right thing to do but in a fairer world perhaps a measure that needs to be balanced.
2017 has been a good year for Paul Waite personally and Aspen Waite corporately.
Our aim to offer the best advice possible is gaining significant momentum and, as well as becoming pre-eminent in the field of R&D tax credits, we are focusing on a range of tax reliefs that are rarely used.
With our knowledge of business and our clients we are well placed to help you maximise the value of a lifetime of work. We are working with a number of clients at present to make sure they do everything possible to get in the best shape to be sold, for instance.
There really are so many ways we can help you. We are always there for our clients so there is nothing to lose and everything to gain.