Autumn Statement 2015 – A summary of main announcements
Business Investment Relief – The government will consult on how to change the Business Investment Relief rules to encourage greater use of the relief to increase investment in UK businesses.
Capital Gains Tax entrepreneurs’ relief: contrived structures – The government will consider bringing forward legislation to amend the changes made by Finance Act 2015 to entrepreneurs’ relief, in order to support businesses by ensuring that the relief is available on certain genuine commercial transactions.
Catapult Centres – The government will increase investment in Catapult Centres.
Disguised remuneration – The government intends to take action against those who have used or continue to used disguised remuneration schemes and who have not yet paid their fair share of tax. The government will also consider legislating in a future Finance Bill to close down any further new schemes intended to avoid tax on earned income, where necessary, with effect from 25 November 2015.
Enterprise Zones – The government will expand the Enterprise Zone programme in England with the announcement of 18 new sites across the country and the extension of 8 sites on the current programme.
Innovate UK grants – The government will introduce new finance products to support companies to innovate following best practice in countries such as France, Finland and the Netherlands. These will replace some existing Innovate UK grants, and reach £165 million per year by 2019-20, so that total Innovate UK support is maintained in cash terms.
Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund – The government has agreed with the British Business Bank and LEPs in the North West, Yorkshire and the Humber and Tees Valley to create a Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund of over £400 million to invest in smaller businesses, subject to European funding arrangements.
UKTI – UKTI will be refocussed to enable it to become a world-class export and investment promotion agency. This will enhance direct support to business and develop the private sector market. This will include £24 million in digital transformation funding for UKTI to simplify UK trade support online and join up effectively with other government services.
Venture capital schemes: changes to eligible investments – The government announced at Report stage of Finance (No. 2) Act 2015 changes to the excluded activities of the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), Venture Capital Trusts VCT) and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS). With effect from 30 November 2015, the provision of reserve energy generating capacity and the generation of renewable energy benefiting from other government support by community energy organisations will no longer be qualifying activities. In addition, these activities will not be eligible for Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) when SITR is enlarged. The government will exclude all remaining energy generation activities from the schemes from 6 April 2016, as well as from the enlarged SITR. The government will also introduce increased flexibility for replacement capital within EIS and VCT, subject to state aid approval. (Finance Bill 2016)
Funding – The government will protect the £4.7 billion science resource funding in real terms for the rest of the Parliament.
Research UK – The government will, subject to legislation, introduce a new body – Research UK – which will work across the seven Research Councils and take a lead in shaping and driving a strategic approach to science funding, ensuring a focus on the big challenges and opportunities for UK research. The government will also look to integrate Innovate UK into Research UK in order to strengthen collaboration between the research base and the commercialisation of discoveries in the business community. Innovate UK will retain its clear business focus and separate funding stream.