Businesses are set to benefit from continued freeze in fuel duty, a cut in corporation tax and reforms to business rates.

Chancellor George Osborne has delivered his eight budget to Parliament  – the fourth in twelve months – and has packed it with pleasant surprises for smaller businesses.

In his opening comments the Chancellor was cautiously optimistic about delivering the promised budget surplus. He said the UK economy was growing faster than other major economies, but he sounded a note of caution, revising down the UK’s growth forecast and warning that leaving the EU will put the economy at risk.

In the budget statement key headings for the funeral profession included:

  • A further continuation of the freeze in fuel duty.
  • New rates for commercial stamp duty: 0% rate on purchases up to £150,000, 2% on next £100,000 and 5% top rate above £250,000. New 2% rate for high-value leases with net present value above £5m.*
  • A cut in corporation tax. It was 20% at the start of the parliament and by 2020 it will fall to 17%.
  • Reforms to business rates that will mean 6,000 small businesses pay no rates and 250,000 have their rates cuts from April 2017.*

(*Does not apply in Scotland)

On the downside there was a small rise of 0.5% in insurance premium tax to 10%  – with proceeds diverted to flood relief. However this is balanced by generally falling premiums following a crackdown on fraud and ‘ambulance chasers’.

A more detailed examination of the implications of the Budget will follow in April’s Funeral Director Monthly.