BUDGET 2017: Small businesses breathe slight sigh of relief

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Effective starting April 6, 2018, the mandatory minimum wage and non-mandatory National Living Wage for workers at least 25 years of age is to increase to £7.83 ($10.42) per hour, up from £7.50 ($9.98) per hour, as recommended by the Low Wage Commission, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said in a financial statement on the budget November 22.

A move from Retail Price Index (RPI) to (the lower) Consumer Price Index (CPI) when calculating bills, something which the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) estimates will save businesses £100m over four years.

The tax-free personal allowance limit and higher-rate tax threshold will increase from April 2018.

A planned cut to business rate rises in England has been brought forward by two years to 2018 by the chancellor.

"We will continue to work in the global arena to find a sustainable and fair long-term solution that properly taxes digital businesses that operate in our cyberspace", Mr Hammond said.

She said: "It's clear that the chancellor has listened to the retail industry and the growing chorus from across business and commercial life who have spoken up in favour of action to mitigate rising rates bills". In March, it was revealed that Google paid just £36 million in tax on United Kingdom revenues of £1 billion. The Chancellor should have gone further.

In addition to freezing alcohol duty across the board, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond unveiled some welcome changes to business rates today.

It is hoped that the plans will help ease the burden on the UK's 5.5m small businesses, which Mr Hammond admitted are now under pressure.

Firms across the country were left reeling following the revaluation of business rates earlier this year, which accounted for property price changes over the last seven years. "This Conservative Government is listening to our small businesses".

The Chancellor added: "This does not solve the problem, but it does send a signal of our determination and we will continue work in the global arena to find a sustainable and fair long-term solution that properly taxes the digital businesses that operate in our cyberspace".