Barnstaple accountancy firm reacts to Autumn Statement

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By AbsolutePR | Thursday, December 05, 2013, 15:05

Adrian Hemmings, Partner at Simpkins Edwards, comments on today's Autumn Statement.

"My overall impression is that this Autumn Statement has been, unsurprisingly, a palate cleanser for the main course in 12 month's time or during the 2015 budget. It was politically driven, with the current Government not wanting to give away any headline-grabbing policies this far in advance of the next general election, which would give the opposition too much time to respond.

"The figures on the economy are generally encouraging, which is probably a good enough headline in itself to get them through the next year, and their determination to stick to their spending cuts is arguably the right thing to do so that the deficit continues to shrink. The elephant in the room however, was the Eurozone, which wasn't really addressed. Further problems in the Eurozone could have a far bigger impact on our economy than any policy our Government could put in place. Thankfully this scenario is looking much less likely now.

"In terms of specific policies, the ones that we feel will have the most positive impact on people in the region will be the fuel duty freeze, the pre-announced increase of the tax-free personal allowance to £10,000 and the free school meals for what is effectively all Key Stage 1 pupils. Details are less clear on some policies such as the tax breaks for married couples and civil partners but these may become clearer the closer we get to the next general election. For businesses, the ongoing clampdown on tax avoidance – another theme of this morning – is already having an impact, with the closing of loopholes meaning that legitimate tax planning strategies are having to be adapted to ensure they are compliant. At the same time, increases in business rates are to be capped at two percent which will help businesses across England."

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