HB&O Headlines - November 2017

29th November 2017

Budget report

Brexit, business and first time buyers - highlights from the Autumn Budget

The Budget announced last week by Chancellor, Philip Hammond, was light on big finance changes, focusing mainly on measures to prepare the economy for post-Brexit life.

The key headlines include:
  • Research and Development Expenditure Credit will increase to 12% from 1 January 2018 (see article below). 
  • The Enterprise Investment Scheme and Venture Capital Trust investment limits increase from 6 April 2018, benefiting individuals and companies investing directly, or indirectly, in small high growth-potential, knowledge-intensive trading companies.
  • Business rates will increase in line with the Consumer Price Index rather than the Retail Price Index from April 2018, two years earlier than originally planned. 
  • The VAT threshold will remain at £85,000 until at least 2020
  • Stamp Duty for first-time buyers has been scrapped on properties up to £300,000, and for the first 300,000 on properties valued up to £500,000
  • Increases to the personal allowance and the national living and minimum wage which will be welcomed by many, although there will be costs associated for some employers. 
  • To bring companies in line with individuals, Indexation Allowance on Capital Gains made by companies on, or after 1 Jan 18, will be calculated up to Dec 17, rather than the month in which the disposal occurs.

For more information, take a look at our Budget report.

Read our Budget report
New Coventry Office

We have moved!

Our Coventry team is now settling in to our new location on Wheler Road.
Our new 8,000 sq ft office provides the additional space and facilities we need to meet the growing demand from clients across Coventry, Warwickshire and beyond, and complements our existing office in Leamington Spa.

Our new Coventry address is:
Seven Stars House, 1 Wheler Road, Coventry CV3 4LB
T: 02476 306 029 F: 02476 305 300

We look forward to welcoming you to our new pad.

R&D Tax Credit

Welcome changes to Research and Development Expenditure Credit announced

Research and Development Expenditure Credit (RDEC) is available for Large Companies undertaking qualifying R&D activity, or for small and medium sized companies undertaking either subsidised R&D or undertaking qualifying R&D activity on behalf of a large company.

In the Budget, Philip Hammond announced that there would be an increase in the RDEC from 11% to 12%. Whilst it seems a small change, this can have a significant impact on those companies who are eligible to make the claim, whether they are already making claims or are yet to explore the opportunity to do so. The 1% point increase actually equates to a 9% increase in the benefit!
Read more

Making GDPR an opportunity, not a risk

The new General Data Protection Regulation coming into force in May 2018, aims to make Europe the gold standard in data management and protection. There has been much talk of huge fines and additional administrative burdens on businesses – but there is opportunity here too, for companies prepared to act now.
GDPR is designed to protect us all, as individuals, and give us more of a say in how our information is used. But as businesses, that means changing the way we work.
At a recent HB&O seminar, our clients heard first hand from experts in risk management, data protection legislation and human resources. The event covered the key changes being introduced, what action businesses should take, and how preparing for GDPR provides an opportunity to reengage with clients and demonstrate a proactive approach to cyber security and data management. 
Read more
Risk evolves cybersecurity videoAs part of our ongoing work with cyber security experts, Risk Evolves, we were delighted to host a crew from ITN for a piece they have put together about protecting data in conjunction with CIMA.

The short video explains why data is so important and why organisations, from the very small to the very large, should be taking steps to protect the data they process just as carefully as other business assets.

Watch the video

Farmers advised to proceed with caution when it comes to diversification
Farm diversificationWith farm diversification on the increase, HB&O is advising farmers to seek specialist tax advice before implementing changes which could affect existing tax reliefs.
At a recent seminar held in partnership with HB&O, HSBC Bank and estate agent, Sheldon Bosley Knight, attendees heard from finance, tax, VAT and land management specialists, as well as gaining an insight into a successful solar panel diversification scheme.
Neil Allcroft, Tax Manager at HB&O, said: “Diversification is playing a growing role in the future of farms across the UK and is an important contributor to overall income. However, due to the complex set of reliefs in place for farms, it’s essential that farmers understand the wider implications of any changes, including how diversifying activities may affect any future exposure to capital taxes.”
Read more
First time buyer

Interest rate change prompts rise in mortgage rates

Earlier this month, The Bank of England raised interest rates for the first time since July 2007 from 0.25% to 0.5%.

While the increase is a positive step for savers, mortgage payments will marginally rise for an estimated 4 million households with variable rate mortgages or tracker mortgages from December 2017.

Further rises are expected in the near future, which is already having an impact on the mortgage deals available. However, there are still some good fixed rates to be had.

In an effort to make home ownership more accessible, the Chancellor has announced that first-time buyers will not have to pay stamp duty on properties up to £300,000 in value, and has committed further investment into building more homes. 

If you are currently on a fixed rate deal that is coming to an end, or you’re a first time buyer wanting to take advantage of the stamp duty change, contact our mortgage broker, Ian Chetwynd for independent advice on the best mortgage deals.

Leamington Business Awards

Winners revealed at the 2017 Leamington Business Awards

Congratulations to all the winners and finalists at this year’s Leamington Business Awards, which were held on 10 November at the Royal Pump Rooms.

As organisers of this year’s event, we were thrilled to celebrate the successes of some of Leamington’s best business success stories, while raising over £5,000 for local charity, Helping Hands.

The glittering ceremony, which was kindly sponsored by The Box Factory, saw local independent business, Bellagio Stone, crowned Business of the Year. Nine other local businesses scooped the top prizes across a range of categories, from New Business of the Year to the Not for Profit Excellence Award. 

Read more

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