A pilot scheme will be launched in Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Greater Manchester and Cheshire East enabling those areas to retain 100% of any additional business rate growth to reinvest locally, it was announced in the 2015 budget, delivered today.
Speaking at the House of Commons, with just 50 days to go until the general election, Chancellor George Osborne also said UKTI funding for businesses exporting to China has been increased.
- The business rate pilots will launch in April 2015, but for Greater Manchester and Cheshire East they will be subject to approval by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. As announced in the autumn statement 2014, the government will conduct a review of business rates to report by budget 2016.
- UKTI funding has been increased to support businesses exporting to China, with the body to receive an extra £7.5m in 2015-16. Osborne said: “Today I am again increasing UKTI’s resources to double the support for British exporters to China”. The budget documents reveal that the UKTI has helped secure 5,100 inward investment projects, creating or safeguarding 333,000 jobs since 2010.
- More than 2 million apprenticeships have been created in this parliament with a Conservative government pledging to create a further 3 million if re-elected for another term.
- The government, through the introduction of an Apprenticeship Voucher, will put employers in control of the government funding for the training apprentices need. The new scheme will be developed and tested with employers and providers immediately and fully implemented from 2017. It will give employers the purchasing power to have a greater say in the quality, value for money and relevance of the training that their apprentices receive.
- The government pledged to create a ‘northern powerhouse’ by investing in infrastructure, housing, science and innovation. This includes committing £13bn of investment to transport in the north of England helping to connect cities and build the northern rail hub.
- Employer national insurance contributions will be abolished for under 21-year-olds from April 2015 which will benefit employers of almost 1.5 million young people, by £332 per employee on average. This will also be abolished for those employing young apprentices from April 2016.
- The GDP revised growth forecast for 2015 was revealed as 2.5%, up from the revised 2.4% announced in the autumn statement.
- Under the current government 1.9 million jobs have been created, more than 1,000 a day, and unemployment cut to 5.3%.
- The Chancellor has announced Britain has the highest number of people in employment in its history with the smallest gender pay gap to date. Some 80% of all jobs are full time while 80% of those in work are in skilled jobs.
- The North of England grew faster than the South over the last year – employment is growing fastest in the North West. Yorkshire was highlighted for creating more jobs than the whole of France.
- Living standards will be higher in 2015 than in 2010, with households on average £900 better off in 2015 than in 2010 – this was predicted to grow strongly every year for the rest of the decade.
- The personal tax allowance will increase to £10,600 from April, this is worth £825 to a typical taxpayer and will take more than 3 million individuals out of income tax.
- Corporation tax has been cut from 28% to 21% in this parliament and will be cut to 20% in April.