Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced a new tax on tech giants and business rates relief for small businesses in his last Budget before Brexit.
The MP for Runnymede and Weybridge proclaimed “austerity is coming to an end” during his House of Commons address earlier today (29 October).
Under the UK Digital Services Tax, from April 2020, social media platforms, search engines and online marketplaces which generate £500 million in revenue will pay a 2% tax on the revenues they earn which are linked to UK users.
Meanwhile, as part of a package devised to help struggling British high streets, the chancellor announced a £675m Future High Street Fund aimed at improving transport links, redeveloping empty shops as homes and offices, and restoring and re-using old and historic properties.
Hammond also pledged to cut business rates bills by one third for properties with a rateable value of £51,000 or less – a measure expected to save them a total of £900m.
The chancellor also announced a new £695m initiative designed to help small firms hire apprentices, with the amount they will have to pay to be halved.
Alongside these measures introduced to help businesses, Hammond declared a new tax on plastic packaging containing less than 30% recyclable plastic.
It was also revealed that the government will no longer use Private Finance Initiatives (PFI), and its successor PF2, after it found the model to be “inflexible and overly complex”.