Businesses won’t commit to Hunt incentives just 10 months from a general election, says RSM UK

23 November 2023

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt started his Autumn Statement speech by saying he had more than 100 measures to incentivise and support businesses, but RSM UK says that whilst the measures announced today may provide a small boost to demand in the short term to some businesses, most won’t touch the sides this close to a general election.

Flora Barnes, corporation tax director at RSM UK comments: ‘Businesses want and need stability, and with the uncertainty of a general election just 10 months away, the prospect of committing themselves to any one of the 110, what he terms as, growth incentives, might be the last thing businesses want to explore before knowing what the policy landscape will look like beyond the general election. Most of the 110 proposals appear either too niche or too small to stimulate a change in approach. The headline policy of making permanent the fixed asset “full expensing” will benefit those businesses that have a long-term investment cycle – but there is a question mark over whether those businesses will feel confident investing with a general election on the horizon. 

‘Whilst the 10% increase to the national living wage is good news for employees, it is less good for employers at a time when the burden on business is significant. While the cut to employee national insurance rate benefits workers, there was no corresponding cut to employer national insurance. The cost of the pandemic, energy cost hikes and the continuing inflationary and interest rate pressures being felt, have the potential to hamper business growth.