The Autumn Statement – our reaction’s response to the Autumn Statement with business owners and investors in mind:

For lenders / investors:

The Government’s announcement that it is looking to reform the criteria for stocks and shares ISAs to include peer-to-peer lending is a strong statement of intent even if it stopped short of making the full announcement, as predicted in the press earlier this week.

We feel the Government effectively announced what it could:

“The government is exploring whether to increase the number of retail bonds eligible for stock and share ISAs by reducing the requirement that such securities must have a remaining maturity above 5 years.”

As you know, most loans are less than 5 years, so we would need this change in the law to allow ISA qualification for peer-to-business lending.

So, we think this is still likely to happen before the April 2015 starting point mooted earlier this week.

For businesses:

SMEs had a lot to welcome in the Autumn Statement with business rate rises capped at 2% and the scrapping of employers’ National Insurance contributions for staff aged under 21 estimated to be worth £500 million a year from 2015. There are also £1,000 rate cuts for firms moving into the High Street retail premises such as pubs, restaurants and cafes.

Business owners will also welcome intervention on their energy bills and the freeze on petrol prices which underlines the focus not only on the impact of macro effects on the SME sector but on their day-to-day activities as well.

The Government clearly recognises the role that SMEs play in the economic recovery by helping these ambitious businesses to grow and keeping their money in the real economy, not only through these announcements but the redirection of Funding for Lending towards businesses.

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