Live: Autumn Statement 2016

Reaction:

Ms. Agate Freimane, Senior Investment Director BrickVest, comments on how the Government plans to pump more money into national infrastructure:

“We welcome Mr. Hammond’s infrastructure drive to build and improve the UK’s roads, railways and broadband. Investors and businesses alike will benefit from the funding, which will trickle down to surrounding sectors such as property. Indeed, plans to fast-track scheduled projects like Crossrail 2 will in turn boost momentum in the UK’s property market as historically, areas that receive infrastructure investment typically benefit from a boost in both rental yield and capital growth. In London, for example, we’ve seen large infrastructure projects like the Night Tube having a positive impact on property prices in the last couple of years.”

The National Living Wage will increase from £7.20 to £7.50 in April next year, the Chancellor confirms. 

“That’s a pay rise worth over £500 a year to a full-time worker,” he says. The NLW has replaced the minimum wage for workers aged over 25.

Personal allowance will rise to £11,500 in April 2017

Reaction: 

 

Ann Francke, CEO of the Chartered Management Institute:

“Productivity is key to the UK’s success, and it’s clear the Chancellor recognises that with the commitment to a National Productivity Investment Fund. But innovation and infrastructure are not the only issues to consider. Poor management costs our economy £84bn each year according to recent research from Investors in People, and the OECD claims it’s the key cause of the UK’s 21% productivity gap with G7 competitors.

“Our businesses are operating in a period of great uncertainty.  This makes it difficult to plan ahead and affects how we resource and develop our employees.  It’s tough to attract and retain skilled managers, and we need 2m more by 2024.  So we know that building management capability is critical for growth in the UK and we hope that the welcome focus on productivity will include the need to improve our management structures.”

Matt Clifford, MBE, co-founder & CEO, Entrepreneur First:

“This Autumn Statement is good news for the UK’s technology industry. £1bn will be invested in digital infrastructure which underpins the importance of technology to the UK’s economy.

“By investing an extra £2bn per year in research and development into technologies such as robotics and biotechnology, the government is helping to support the pioneers of new industries that are playing a major part in Britain’s long-term global competitiveness.”

Robert Gordon, CEO at Hitachi Capital on the opportunity missed on corporation tax rate:

“An opportunity has been missed in not reducing corporation tax any further in today’s Autumn Statement. Keeping the current rate to 17% by 2020 is an admirable target but it should have been lowered further to ensure a significant boost for companies and a reminder that Britain is open for business following the Brexit result. Our recent research with the CEBR revealed that nearly half (42%) of large British companies have cancelled or postponed investment plans due to Brexit, so a further cut in corporation tax could have been a step in the right direction by the new Chancellor.

“Now more than ever British businesses have to compete on a global stage for new trade opportunities and to secure investment, therefore it is only right that the taxes they pay reflect this new landscape.”

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library:

“The Chancellor’s optimistic outlook on the UK’s labour market is extremely positive to see. Our economy’s employment is currently at a record high and in order for this to continue, we must tackle the upcoming challenges head-on and prepare to be resilient as we embark on our exit from the EU. Most notably, the UK labour market is forecasted to remain robust and to grow every year up until 2020, confirming business confidence across the UK. Our own data confirms this: in the months following the Brexit (July 2016 – October 2016, inclusive) we found that job postings actually increased by 7% on the previous year, while applications and salaries also rose by a steady 2.4% respectively.”

 

Insurance premium tax to rise from 10% to 12%

Rural rate relief raised to 100%

Corporation tax to fall to 17% as planned

David Johnson, Director at Halo Financial, commented:

“In a short and sweet Autumn Statement, Philip Hammond set the scene and affirmed commitment to boosting the UK economy. He talked of “Preparing the economy to seize the opportunities ahead”, with a focus on “driving productivity” and creating “fiscal headroom”.

“Sterling was cited as the main reason for the downward revision of UK growth forecast from 2.1% to 1.4%, but following positive announcements in the Statement, sterling has strengthened somewhat, by about half a cent against the Euro and US Dollar, with similar movements in other currencies.

Reaction from Shai Bernstein, Associate Professor of Finance at Stanford GSB, commented:

“With the Government putting focus on national investment into infrastructure, such as railways and better roads, it is really investing in the lifeblood of commerce. Though we are now living in a very digital world, direct physical links between businesses, consumers, and investors still have a big part to play in modern commerce. A good example of this is the recent research we did into the impact of direct links on investors and portfolio businesses.
“Our research showed that better infrastructure links between venture capital investors and portfolio companies led to an increase in face-to-face interactions, which, in turn, had a direct causal effect on the success of and quality of innovation by those affected portfolio businesses. The data showed the number of patents filed by those businesses directly affected by enhanced infrastructure rose by three per cent, and the citations per patent rose by almost six per cent, indicating an increased quantity and quality of innovation. Furthermore, the probability that those portfolio businesses would IPO or achieve a successful exit also increased.”

Philip Hammond pledges more than £1bn for broadband and 5G – a move trailed earlier this week.

Through British business bank £400m will be injected into UK tech firms

The Chancellor says the UK needs to become more productive, so that wages can rise and people can enjoy higher living standards.

he announced a National Productivity Investment Fund of £23bn to be spent on innovation and infrastructure over the next five years.

Reaction to the chancellor’s pledge to invest £1.1bn in the UK’s transport infrastructure from Jason Downes, MD of Powwownow – a Richmond-based SME.

“The chancellor’s pledge to invest £1.1 billion in the English local transport network – notably its roads and railway tracks – is long overdue.

“The almost constant rail strikes and disruptions on the roads that have dominated the headlines in 2016 have eaten into the working day, seriously hampering employees’ productivity.

“While Hammond’s planned investment is a step in the right direction, it will take a long time for these improvements to be implemented and for results to be seen. As we wait to see how the planned investment in infrastructure will pan out, businesses can offer flexible working to help deal with the existing rail strikes and poor road connections.”

Philip Hammond says debt will rise until 2018/19, when it is expected to fall for the first time since 2002 – and it will continue to fall thereafter.

On returning public finances to balance; no new plans for welfare savings measures in this parliament.

Philip Hammond says the Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts economic growth of:

2.1% in 2016 – down from 2% it forecast before the EU referendum

1.4% in 2017 – down from 2.2%

1.7% in 2018 – down from 2.1%

2.1% in 2019 – down from 2.1%

2.0% in 2020 – down from 2.1%

SMEs thoughts on the upcoming autumn statement:

James Klempster, Head of Investment Management Momentum UK

“Given that the seismic shock of Brexit and its destabilising effect was felt just a few months ago, today’s Autumn Statement is likely to be a relatively minor affair in comparison, with a modest impact on the markets. The Chancellor’s new initiatives may cause a little noise here and there, but their ultimate influence on investments in UK assets is generally pretty limited.

“In fact, we may actually see a calming effect, thanks to an increased level of certainty following the speech. But if there is a more substantial impact, this will be welcomed by long term investors, with heightened volatility presenting opportunities to add positions in asset classes at discounted prices.”

Comments from Alex Fenton, founder and CEO of GapCap:

“Following the EU referendum, short term initiatives must be implemented to benefit the UK economy and ultimately provide smaller businesses with a much needed boost as we edge closer to the Prime Minister’s March ultimatum.

“The planned cut in corporation tax to 17 per cent seems eminently practical, and this needs to be actioned swiftly to support growing SMEs, drivers of the economy.

“It is now more important than ever for the Government to be supporting the next generation of business leaders, not just in London but across the country. The Chancellor should look to inject cash in schools and economic hubs across the UK, opening up business opportunities. Our next business leaders will come from all regions and need equal levels of support.

“The Government’s implementation of business finance schemes must be accelerated, alongside deeper support for SMEs when it comes to supply chains, particularly on major projects where these smaller businesses are most strained.”

Chris Francis, Director Government Relations at SAP, commented:            

“With the UK’s growth forecast set to slow over the next four years,  it’s crucial the Government makes the most of its plans to invest in high-value infrastructure by leveraging smart solutions, and maintains the focus on the productivity gap to improve the UK’s economic resilience and readiness for the fourth industrial revolution”.

“If the Government wants to support growth in productivity and promote the UK’s position as a leader in digital innovation, then it should support those businesses implementing cutting edge technology such as Artificial Intelligence(AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and exploiting cloud-based services. These are the tools providing the fuel for economic growth, driving exciting innovation and putting high-end skills to use, and the Government is a potent catalyst as customer, regulator and funder”

 

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