Chancellor's Spring Budget - What It Means For West End Businesses
In today's Spring Budget there was little announced that will have a direct impact on West End businesses.
Of course, falling inflation, predicted economic growth and falling government borrowing are all to be welcomed. Measures that increase the employment pool are also positive for our district and the wider country, but these measures will be phased in over time while the need to fill vacancies is the top priority.
However, the growth measures announced today are aimed mainly at high tech businesses, new start-ups and businesses outside London. There was no mention of the growth measures that will encourage spending by international visitors, particularly reinstating tax-free shopping and extending Sunday trading hours in London's International Centres.
With calls for these reforms growing, New West End Company will continue to tirelessly campaign in order to restore our international competitiveness.
Please click the links below to read:
- Full details of the Spring Budget
- The Chancellor's Budget Speech
- The Treasury's news release
- The Treasury's Labour Market Factsheet
- The Treasury's media factsheet on business taxes
Commenting on the Spring Statement, Dee Corsi, Chief Executive of New West End Company, commented:
"The Chancellor has missed an opportunity to look again at Sunday trading hours and help address some of the damage done by his introduction of VAT on spending by international visitors. The recovery of the West End has been remarkable but continues to lag other global shopping destinations with less restrictive trading hours such as Dubai, New York, Milan, and even Paris where they have liberalised trading hours in certain tourist hotspots. The West End is 65% busier on Sundays in terms of footfall, as well as spend per trading hour, so extending shopping hours would be a practical and cost-free way of generating an additional third of a billion of net additional sales that the UK currently misses out on."
The Budget was billed as a Growth Budget, focusing on delivering four elements of The Chancellor's Growth Plan: Enterprise, Employment, Education and Everywhere. Please find more details on the three elements of Enterprise, Employment and Everywhere below.
The Chancellor also suggested that the Government intends to withdraw all remaining central support from Local Enterprise Partnerships from April 2024, with the responsibility for delivery passing to local government. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Department for Business and Trade will consult on this decision.
If you would like further information, please contact our Head of Advocacy, Paul Barnes, here.
- A new policy of full capital expensing will be introduced. This will allow businesses to write off the cost of qualifying expenditure against taxable income, cutting businesses overall tax bill.
- The local retention of business rates will be expanded to more areas in the next Parliament and will work closely with interested councils to achieve this (please note, this will not include the West End).
- The temporary higher rates of tax relief for theatres, orchestras, and museums and galleries will be extended for a further two years from April 2023.
- The Climate Change Agreement scheme is also to be extended for two years to encourage energy efficiency.
- A new voluntary employment scheme – Universal Support – for disabled people and those with health conditions will be funded in England and Wales. The Government will spend up to £4,000 per person to find them a suitable role and cater to their needs, supporting 50,000 places per year once fully rolled out.
- The application and enforcement of the Universal Credit sanctions regime will be increased for those who don’t take reasonable job offers.
- A new ‘Returnerships’ scheme will be introduced for those aged over 50 who are looking to get back into the workplace, alongside an enhanced midlife MOT tool to return people to the work.
- The third round of the Levelling Up Fund will be delivered.
- 12 new investment zones, a £200 million investment in regeneration projects and a £161 million investment in Mayoral Combined Authorities and the Greater London Authority were also announced.