Autumn Budget 2021

On 27 October, Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered his third Budget along with the results of his Spending Review. Among the key business-related measures and spending commitments either announced or confirmed during his speech were:

  • A 50% business rates discount for companies in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, up to a maximum of £110,000
  • Business rates multiplier to be frozen in 2022/23 (equivalent to a tax cut worth £4.6bn over the next five years)
  • A new business rates relief designed to support companies investing in their premises
  • National Living Wage for individuals aged 23 and over to increase from £8.91 to £9.50 an hour from 1 April 2022
  • £3bn ‘skills revolution’ to fund education and training opportunities in support of government efforts to build a ‘high-wage economy’
  • An ‘infrastructure revolution’ including promised improvements to local roads that could result in more jobs across construction, transport and engineering
  • Planned reforms to Research and Development (R&D) tax reliefs for companies.

Business reaction

“The Chancellor has shown a genuine willingness to listen to business with measures that will get firms innovating and help the economy to grow. It takes several positive steps forward, but isn’t bold enough to deliver the high investment, high productivity economy the government seeks.”

Tony Danker, Director General of the Confederation of British Industry

“The crucial test for this Budget was whether it gave business the confidence to invest. The Chancellor’s business rates and R&D tax credit reforms are welcome but with hefty hikes in other taxation on the horizon, that may not be enough to convince business leaders to press go on their plans for growth.”

Kitty Ussher, Chief Economist at the Institute of Directors

“There is much to welcome in this Budget for business communities across the UK. The Chancellor has listened to Chambers’ long-standing calls for changes to the business rates system and this will be good news for many firms. However, these changes must be the start, rather than the end point of the reforms to this broken system.” 

Shevaun Haviland, Director-General of the British Chambers of Commerce

“This Budget has delivered some measures that should help to arrest the current decline in small business confidence. But, against a backdrop of spiralling costs, supply chain disruption and labour shortages, is there enough here to deliver the government’s vision for a low-tax, high-productivity economy? Unfortunately not.” 

Mike Cherry, National Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses

All details are correct at the time of writing (11 November 2021)