Autumn budget 2021: Key tax announcements

Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered his Autumn Budget and Spending Review on Wednesday (27 October), which he assured would “begin the work of preparing for a new economy” and the “challenging months ahead” post-pandemic.

Having “made four fiscal judgements” that included “increas[ing] total departmental spending over this Parliament by £150 billion” and “supporting working families”, Rishi Sunak announced a raft of public spending pledges – followed by announcements regarding tax reliefs and changes to various smaller taxes (such as duties). “My goal is to reduce taxes,” Mr Sunak declared. “By the end of this Parliament, I want taxes to be going down, not up.”

Business rates

One of the major announcements involved the business rates regime. Promising to make the system “fairer and timelier, with more frequent revaluations every three years” (with the new revaluation cycle starting in 2023), Mr Sunak added that “reckless, unfunded promises to abolish a tax which raises £25 billion every year are completely irresponsible” – but announced reliefs and cuts.

“We’re introducing a new investment relief to encourage businesses to adopt green technologies like solar panels [and] a new ‘business rates improvement relief’ where, from 2023, every single business will be able to make property improvements – and, for 12 months, pay no extra business rates,” he said. Next year’s planned increase in the multiplier would be cancelled – “a tax cut for business worth, over the next five years, £4.6 billion” – and eligible businesses in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors would be able to claim a discount on their bills of 50 per cent, up to a maximum of £110,000, for one year. Mr Sunak hailed this as a business tax cut worth almost £1.7 billion – adding that all business rates cuts taken together came to £7 billion.

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