Chancellor Philip Hammond certainly made a statement yesterday with a selection of wisecracks and inevitable Strictly Come Dancing digs at Ed Balls. Aside from the corkers aimed at the former Shadow Cha-Cha-Chancellor (sorry, couldn’t resist), and even jokes directed at Boris Johnson, Philip Hammond delivered his first and last Autumn Statement with a number of policies that will directly impact our nation’s businesses. But were these policy changes a cause for celebration among British SMEs, and has Hammond started and ended his run of Autumn Statements on a high?
Given that one of the Chancellor’s take-home messages from his announcement was that “Britain is open for business”, the Government has clearly put growing enterprise high on the agenda this year. In the post-Brexit vote climate, a number of measures were outlined that will likely instil some additional confidence in growing British companies, as the Chancellor has vowed to take a progressive stance on nurturing start-ups into scale-ups, with £400 million of investment to be injected into venture capital funds via the British Business Bank. This, the Government hopes, will “unlock” £1 billion in available finance for UK start-ups that are eager to take the next step and scale their operations.
Further standout strategies that could have a profound impact on scale-ups nationwide include committed investment into Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to the tune of £1.8 billion. In addition, enhancing infrastructure and improving digital communications have been outlined as priorities, with the launch of a £23 billion National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) to stimulate transportation, digital communications, research and development (R&D), and housing, and a £1 billion investment committed to full-fibre broadband and 5G mobile communications.
These are just a few of the raft of announcements made by the Chancellor yesterday. But fear not, we have taken a more in-depth look at exactly what was said and delved into what it will means scale-ups and SME investment. So, for a full breakdown of this year’s Autumn Statement and all the policies that could impact British business, download our Autumn Statement Round-up Report.