Autumn Budget 2021: Key Points

In today’s Autumn Budget, Rishi Sunak promised plans to build "a stronger economy for the British people" after the coronavirus crisis. The Chancellor cut alcohol and fuel duties and lowered the Universal Credit taper rate amid the very real threat of inflation. Below is a summary the main announcements that will affect businesses.

Business Support

Business rates will remain at the same rate, with Mr Sunak saying that it would be wrong to find £25bn in extra borrowing through cuts to public services or tax rises elsewhere. But there will be some changes:

  • New 50% business rates discount for businesses in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors, including pubs, music venues, cinemas, restaurants, hotels, theatres, and gyms

  • This will mean any eligible business can claim a discount up to a maximum of £110,000 - a tax cut worth almost £1.7bn

  • Mr Sunak says that, together with small business rates relief, this means more than 90% of all businesses in these sectors will see a discount of at least 50%

  • Those who pay business rates will benefit from more frequent re-evaluations every three years from 2023

  • New investment relief to encourage businesses to adopt green technology such as solar panels

  • Business rates improvement relief - from 2023 every business will be able to make property improvements and, for 12 months, pay no extra business rates. This and the investment relief above total £750m

  • To help businesses pay their tax bills, next year's planned increase in the multiplier will be cancelled - a cut of £4.6bn over the next five years


  • £1m annual investment allowance will be extended to March 2023

  • Bank surcharge within corporation tax will be retained at 3% and overall corporate tax

    rate on banks will increase from 27% to 28% in 2023

  • Help for challenger banks - raising the annual allowance to £100m

  • Tonnage tax (shipping) reform will see companies rewarded for adopting the UK's merchant shipping flag, the red Ensign

Research and Development (R&D) tax relief

  • Tax relief for business R&D spending will be limited so that it only applies to activity within the UK
  • The definition of R&D has been extended to include cloud computing

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