Autumn Statement: Benefits for business

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne
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Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne today announced in the Autumn Statement that by the end of this Parliament local councils will keep 100 per cent of business rates.

Elected mayors would have the power to raise business rates for infrastructure projects, he added.

He also announced 26 new Enterprise Zones - offering tax breaks and fast-track planning - including 15 in towns. Sheffield Council said it was working on one earlier this year.

Tech business zone bid for Sheffield city centre

The chancellor also said there would be the biggest road investment programme since the 1970s and the funds to ensure electrification of the TransPennine, Midland Mainline and Great Western routes - as well as £11bn infrastructure projects in London.

He added: “There would be no jobs without a vibrant sector,” before announcing a cut in corporation tax from 20 to 18 per cent

Some 600,000 of the smallest businesses would benefit from a year-long extension of small business rates relief, he added.

And he was continuing the industrial strategy, launched in the last Parliament, with a commitment to support the aerospace and automotive industries “for the next decade”.

Spending on Catapult innovation centres - including Sheffield University’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Rotherham - would increase through Innovate UK.

And spending on science would rise by £500m from £4.75bn “by the end of the decade”.

An apprentice levy would be introduced in April 2017 set at 0.5 per cent of large employers’ wage bill. It was set to raise £3bn and help fund an increase in apprentices from 2m to 2m by 2020.

“It is a huge reform to raise the skills of the nation,” he said.