As one of the most pressing challenges, it came as welcome news that the government intends to tackle the question of business rates, which represent a daunting cost for many promising small businesses.
Unsurprisingly, the SME community welcomed news that small business rate relief will be extended until 2015, with rates capped to 2 per cent from next year. This major win for SME lobbying groups was also accompanied by several other measures to give small businesses a chance to thrive, including an expansion of the start-up loans scheme and the cancellation of planned fuel duty increases.
Of course small businesses were not the only demographic affected by the measures outlined within the Chancellor's statement; changes to pensions and housing policy will also have significant implications for savers and homebuyers.
From a saver's perspective, individuals will benefit from an increase in the State Pension to £2.95 per week, while married couples have gained the right to transfer £1000 of their income tax personal allowance to a spouse or civil partner from 2015 onwards.
The government will also continue to invest in the Help to Buy scheme in 2014, which has already had a strong positive impact on re-fuelling the housing market and enabling first time buyers to join the property ladder. At the same time, Osborne announced a review of how local authorities can support housing supply, with plans to issue £1bn worth of loans to develop new large housing sites. Together, these measures aim to provide access to more affordable homes for those who need them most.
Aldermore is encouraged to see this level of assistance for businesses and homebuyers within the Autumn Statement, and will continue to work alongside government to enable both groups to achieve their financial goals.
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