Last week the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, gave his Autumn Statement.

Head of Finance at ICS, Sam Price, reflects on a low-key Autumn Budget announcement.

He said: “On the whole, it was a rather disappointing budget. It’s fair to say there was no blockbuster announcement.

“The key takeaway from the budget would be abolishing the Stamp Duty for first-time buyers on homes up to £300,000, and on the first £300,000 of properties up to £500,000.

“Small businesses will benefit from the assurance that the turnover level at which they must register for VAT will not reduce for two years, which came as something of a surprise given a reduction was recommended by OTS before the budget. This is a boost to small businesses and start-ups.”

For the North of England, Mr Hammond highlighted several improvements that will take place over the coming years.

Lancashire will see the benefit of improvements to broadband connection in rural areas will be made, as well as upgrades to mobile phone signals with 5G signal coming into place.

Transpennine trains, which run through the county, will also be upgraded to include WiFi and improved phone signal for passengers.

Mr Price said: “The biggest improvement from Lancashire’s point of view will be improving the broadband in rural areas, this is long overdue and has affected many homes and businesses in our area for a while.

“Mr Hammond also commented on upgrading mobile phone signal which is hugely beneficial to people who live and work in rural areas of Lancashire.”

The Northern powerhouse will receive £1.7bn for a transforming cities fund, and the HS2 rail link is to receive an extra £300 million funding to better connect the North and South of England.

Mr Price felt these were solid improvements for the North of England as a whole, but won’t have much of an impact on Lancashire.

He added: “The funding for transforming cities is aimed more at Manchester than any of the cities in Lancashire I would think. HS2 will certainly ease travel between the North and South, but plenty of our towns are well-served by the West Coast Main Line.”

There was an announcement of a consultation into the employment status of those working as contractors, consultants and freelancers in the private sector slipped in the budget documents, rather than the budget speech itself.

“It was feared that the changes enacted on public sector workers from April 2017 could be rolled out to private sector workers as early as April 2018. It is pleasing to see that the government will consult on an extension of the rules, as the effect on public-sector bodies and workers alike has been broadly negative, and HMRC may find they have recouped less tax than they had estimated.”

ICS Managing Director, John Lyon

Sam Price – Head of Finance at ICS Accountants

If you are a contractor working in the public sector and have questions or concerns regarding this years Autumn Statement, then feel free to contact ICS for more information regarding your accountancy options as a public sector contractor. We are also on hand to support agencies and their candidates, so do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 195 3750.