Phillip Hammond

Autumn Budget 2018: What does it mean for my business?

Chancellor Philip Hammond once again wielded the famous red briefcase on Monday as he announced the government’s Autumn Budget for government spending over coming months and years.

Hammond’s third budget in-post and, crucially, the final budget before Brexit’s big news saw the chancellor declare that austerity was ending.  Predictably this was disputed by the opposition as he forecasted growth of 1.3% for 2018.

We’ve broken down what this means with some key changes heading the way of UK businesses below.

 

Business rates reduction

Arguably one of the biggest headline-grabbers, certainly for small businesses, was the pledge to cut business rates by one third for businesses with a rateable value of less than £51,000 for two years from April 2019 (how do I calculate my rateable value?).

What does this mean for me?

If you fit the criteria, then the chances are you’ll see a notable reduction in the business rates you pay. The government believes the reduction will result in an average annual saving of £8,000 for 90% (that’s half a million) independent businesses.

Don’t forget, there’s some level business rate relief available for most businesses, so make sure you find out what you’re entitled to.

Check out our 2017 blog on business rates and their recent history.

 

Helping the High Streets (and the planet)

It’s no secret that High Streets are in steady decline.  The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released figures in August showing that one in every five retail pounds spent is now online.  The chancellor was effusive in his desire to halt this slide and announced a number of initiatives in response.

He announced the creation of a “future high street fund” stocked with £675 million to improve footfall in and around city centres and stimulate spending.

Likewise, planning laws are to be relaxed, allowing easier conversion of empty shops into useful offices, spaces and homes to maintain footfall in those areas.

Those who use plastic packaging in their products are also being nudged towards a more sustainable future as the chancellor reiterated his desire for the UK to “lead the world in the crusade to tackle plastic waste”.

He announced a tax on any business whose plastic packaging is less than 30% recyclable, or if they import packaging which is less than 30% recyclable.

What does this mean for me?

Although details are still thin on the ground at this stage, businesses who use plastic packaging need to be planning to mitigate an increased cost or to substitute their packaging’s plastic.  This will likely include a supply chain audit, so there’s no time to waste.

 

Pay less for Apprentices; pay more for low-wage employees

Good news for businesses that lodged complaints about the 10% Apprenticeship levy; it has been halved with a £695 million support package.  Philip Hammond also confirmed that the government would continue to fully-fund Apprenticeships for 16 to 18-year-olds in companies with less than 50 staff.

Not so good news for employers who have large numbers of low-wage staff as the chancellor announced another increase in the national living wage, to the tune of 4.9%.  This bumps it up from £7.83 to £8.21 an hour for employees aged 25 and over.  There is a similar jump for those below 25.

What does this mean for me?

You will need whoever looks after your finances to reassess your position with regards to levy payments and wages; whether that’s your finance team, an outsourced resource or yourself.  Wage expenditure will increase from April 2019, but this will be offset slightly by any levy payment reduction.

 

Tech tax for online giants

Recent scandals have made tech giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook public enemy number one in the UK for the misuse of the public’s data and the low tax-to-revenue ratio their international models afford them.  This made them an easy target for the chancellor as he looked for ways to raise government funds without penalising taxpayers further.

A new 2% tax on online purchases for companies with over £500 million in revenue was the result the government settled on, which is expected to make them £400 million per year from April 2020.

What does this mean for me?

Unless you’re reading this from a digital unicorn, there doesn’t appear to be a significant downside.  There is a chance that the affected companies may start building their extra expense into their pricing and hence move the impact down to their customers.  If you’re a technical competitor of these digital giants, the tax could actually give you an opportunity to win some new customers.

 

Schools get “little extras”

Monday saw a fairly insignificant budget for schools.  The chancellor announced a £400 million per year pot of cash to help boost equipment and “little extras”.  A lot of money, but not per school, who’ll see just £10,000 (primaries) and £50,000 (secondaries).

What does this mean for me?

If you’re in charge of a school’s finances or procurement, this will be little comfort.  You’ll be looking for funding of the level that could provide more quality staff, rather than a few new computers.  The opposition were also quick to point out that it’s £20 million less than the money allocated for pothole filling.  Many schools, particularly those classed as academies, are looking at more innovative ways of generating revenue.  Check out this case study of an academy Great Annual Savings Group helped reduce their outgoings.

 

Self-employed tax rise

Self-employed workers will see their tax bills increase from 2020 onwards as the government’s off-payroll working rules, known to those in the public sector as IR35, are set to be implemented into to the private sector tax structure.

What does this mean for me?

Without meaning to state the obvious, if you’re self-employed and outsourcing yourself to third-party businesses, the likelihood is you’re going to paying a considerably higher amount of tax come 2020. Tax experts have even gone as far as to estimate that IR35 could reduce a worker’s net income by up to 25 per cent.

 

Encouraging entrepreneurs

In a move designed to support the entrepreneurial spirit throughout the UK, the Start-up Loans Programme has been extended until 2021, backing a further 10,000 new businesses.

What does this mean for me?

You might think this doesn’t apply to you if you already own a business, however, this isn’t the case.

The programme offers loans ranging between from £500 up to £25,000 (at a 6% interest rate) alongside free mentoring and support to individuals who are not only starting a new business, but also to those who have been trading for less than two years.

 

 

Are you concerned with your business’ position ahead of the economic uncertainty of 2019?  We can help you control your outgoing costs in more areas of expenditure than any other consultancy.

Speak to one of our friendly experts for a no-obligation chat or quote on reducing your running costs today.

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Alan GarrattTraining & Development

Alan joined GAS in July 2016 having spent 11 years as a business owner, followed by 12 years at the mobile communications company EE. With a successful background in business sales, he moved into the world of Training & Development and specialised as a Management Development Consultant. Alan is tasked with creating a strong learning and development offering, where all employees receive the right level of support, training and development. His role incorporates needs analysis, training design and delivery.

Alan Says…

The pull of creating an L&D function at a young and vibrant company was too hard to resist. The board of Directors and senior management team are extremely pro-active where learning is concerned and push to get the best support for our people. My role is so diverse – one day I can be mentoring our young apprentices and the next I can be writing a management development session.

Did you know?

Alan goes camping regularly in the Highlands of Scotland and owns land on the West Coast. He has the official title of ‘Laird of Dunans’… his daughter bought him one square foot of land as a gift!

Bradley GrovesCEO & CHAIRMAN

Having co-founded GAS in 2012, Bradley has helped oversee the companies’ huge growth in a short space of time. Starting from its modest surroundings in South Shields, the rapid growth has seen the business move to its current surroundings in Seaham. Bradley’s background is in retail management and he has a wealth of experience working for a number of FTSE250 companies in a board level capacity, most notably with the Caudwell Group.

Bradley says:

"Certain businesses we’ve worked with have made six-figure savings over their contract terms, we cover a very large area when it comes to variable costs, and when we get involved, it means the companies can focus on their business while somebody else is focusing on what they specialise in."

Did you know?

Bradley is the proud Owner and Chairman of Spennymoor Town Football Club, who have achieved 4 promotions and Eleven trophies since his takeover in 2009. As a youngster, he was also on the books of Aston Villa Football Club until an unfortunate injury took him down another career path which has culminated in the empire he has built today.​​

Chantelle WallerTeam Manager (IT)

Chantelle is a Graduate of Teesside University, where she studied towards achieving a BSc Hons degree in Information Technology.

Her IT career blossomed upon joining local firm Teesside Steel Works in 2011, where she progressed from the IT Helpdesk to become a Desktop Support Analyst. Following a four-year spell with organisation, Chantelle moved to Great Annual Savings in 2015, where she currently heads up the IT department and is responsible for managing the business’s technology systems.

Chantelle says:

“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity I have been given at GAS. There are real progression opportunities here and I have developed my career from Desktop Support to IT manager in the space of just two years. GAS make me feel valued and recognised.”

Did you know:

Chantelle is a qualified British Sign Language interpreter with a NVQ level 3 in British Sign Language.

Craig ShieldsHead of Quality & Risk

Craig spent the first 10 years of his career working in Education, firstly as a lecturer, then latterly as a Head of Sport, Leisure, Travel & Public Services at East Durham FE College. Having moved into the private sector in 2012 running a local franchise of Loughborough based business telecommunications company Crimzon Communications, Craig first became involved with Great Annual Savings by providing the telecommunications​ arm of the value added services of the business. In 2014, he turned that business rapport and relationship into a full time role within the company as our Head of Compliance.

Craig says:

"Being part of GAS is a journey, you genuinely feel part of the organisation and that your contribution makes a difference. The growth I’ve witnessed since I’ve been involved with GAS is phenomenal, to see us move from small serviced offices to where we are now has been a pleasure to be a part of. It’s exciting to think that we aren’t finished yet, with plenty more growth to come.”

Did you know?

Craig once appeared on the stage version of Catchphrase in Blackpool with the one and only Roy Walker.​​

Judith BennisonGroup HR Director

Judith was part of the team who initially set up Great Annual Savings in 2012, she brings with her an abundance of senior management experience, managing the HR/Resourcing functions in numerous fast growing FTSE250 companies including De La Rue International PLC, Blacks Leisure Group PLC and most recently G4S PLC. Judith has played a pivotal role in helping move the business forward with our ambitious growth plans and her impact has seen our head count grow significantly year on year with significant plans in place to manage and lead the continued growth going forward.

Judith says:

"Businesses who are pro-active continually look at managing their costs effectively, those who wait until a recession hits, are reactive and often too late. We want companies to be pro-active and take the pain away by saving costs now, letting GAS do the fully managed cost solution just makes good business sense for any company, whatever the size or industry. Our business ethos is something I truly believe in and want every company to benefit from our help and support, working collaboratively together is a great way to build long term relationships.”

Did you know?

Outside of work, Judith likes to turn her passion to Yoga incorporating head stands, hand stands, tree pose, back bends and still being able to twist & turn along with her fellow yogis. She is on the journey to lotus pose but 5 years on is not quite there… yet!​​

Lauren RedmanHR Manager

From Sunderland to Chicago and back again, Lauren has made significant strides in her career since graduating from Sunderland University with a 2:1 degree in Business & Human Resource Management back in 2011.

Lauren says:

“Attending University was a great learning curve for me and gave me a great insight into what I could achieve in my career. I was also afforded the opportunity to gain some fantastic work experience with Gateshead Council and Trade Training Associates, harnessing my skills in the end to end recruitment process and other generalist HR projects.”

After graduation, she took on a one-year internship in Hospitality Management in Chicago with Marriot. Upon her return to the UK in late 2012, her journey with Great Annual Savings began.​

Liam GrovesTeam Manager (Compliance)

An Alumni of Leeds Beckett University, Liam graduated with a 2:1 degree in Business Studies and has been part of the furniture from day one, starting his career at Great Annual Savings on a 12-month undergraduate placement working as a Business Solutions Manager. Having completed his degree, he took on a role as part of the Sales Administration Team.

Liam says:

“Being part of the companies’ inception and ongoing development has been a challenging yet rewarding experience which has helped me gain invaluable skills and knowledge of working in a fast growing private sector business.”

Since attending Argyle House School and Durham School 6th Form, Liam has always displayed a passion for business from an early age. You could even say it’s in his genes.

Over the years, Liam has worked his way up through the company and is now part of the Customer Compliance team working as a Compliance Manager, picking up a number of qualifications along the way including an NVQ in Customer Service.​

Mark JonesAssociate Business Solutions Director (UK & I)

Mark joined Great Annual Savings shortly after the company began trading in 2012 as a Business Solutions Manager, after initially beginning his career working in the Finance sector with Barclays, RBS and HBOS Group. His skills and high work ethic were quickly recognised as he was first promoted to a Team Manager, and then later to the Head of Sales, UK & Ireland. As one of the longest serving members of staff, he has now built a strong team of Energy experts designed to take the pain away from our customers when it comes to their utility bills and give them peace of mind and the time to do what they do best; run their business.

Mark says:

"The speed of my progression and development has been amazing. The guidance and ongoing support the Group has provided me to aid my development has been invaluable. It’s great to be able to assist businesses to reduce their costs and their customer satisfaction gives me personal satisfaction in my role.”

Did you know?

Mark is a lifelong Sunderland AFC supporter, attending every game home and away throughout the season with his young son Josh.​​

Matthew HerrellAssociate Director

A chartered accountant for over six years, Matt joined Great Annual Savings in 2015 after playing a key role in the growth of UK IT firm Onyx Group. As Associate Finance Director, Matt is responsible for planning, implementing, managing and controlling all financial-related activities for GAS, including the development of financial and operational strategies.

Phil AndrewAssociate Customer Experience Director

Phil joined GAS in May 2016, having worked in a number of blue chip organisations over the past 25 years including The AA, Tesco Bank, Aviva and Barclaycard. With the company committed to providing a first class customer journey and experience, as well as colleague engagement, Phil’s knowledge and experience as Head of Complaints at Barclaycard and Customer Experience at the AA is key to GAS delivering a first class experience to each of our customers’ every time.

Phil says:

"I am really excited to be a part of a local company which is looking to grow by putting the customer first. I was attracted by the positive culture that has been created and the opportunity of working for an organisation that is always looking to invest and develop its workforce and support the local community.”

Did you know?

In 2005, Phil was accredited a Six Sigma Black Belt whilst working for Zurich Financial Services. A winner of a number of industry awards, he also wrote and delivered the hugely successful Barclaycard “Obsessed” Program, which was designed to put the customer at the centre of the organisations thinking.​​

Philip BallNon-Executive Director

For over 30 years Phil enjoyed a career working for Local Authorities in Lancashire, City of Newcastle, Derbyshire and County Durham specialising in sport, leisure and cultural services before leaving his Director’s role at Sedgefield Borough Council in 2009 to start a leisure consultancy company. Having been commissioned to work on football and community related projects for Spennymoor Town FC in 2010, he developed a close working relationship with Club Chairman Bradley Groves.

Phil says:

"Outside of working on football club activity, discussions with Bradley began to explore how we were aware that many of the companies we had both worked with needed specialist cost reduction services which led to the creation of the Great Annual Savings Company in 2012 and began a journey of rapid expansion for us and huge financial benefits for our customers.”

Did you know?

Phil is a keen sportsman, his current playing passions are golf and sailing although when he was at school in Rotherham, he was proud to represent Yorkshire Schoolboys at Cricket and still holds his school’s wicket keeping record of taking 47 stumpings and 4 catches in a single season.​​

Ricky MingleCSR Ambassador

Ricky joined Great Annual Savings in May 2016, having spent eight years working in a Marketing and Data Management capacity in the events sector. To run alongside his core function of Email Marketing and Internal Communications Manager within GAS, Ricky was elected as Chairman of CSR in February 2017. He has been tasked with making a significant difference to the area of County Durham by raising money and spending time volunteering to help those in need. Putting his 10 years fundraising experience into practice, Ricky and the team did their due diligence and decided to support Animal Krackers, Heel and Toe Children’s Charity, Durham Foodbank and Wag & Co.!

Ricky says:

“When the opportunity arose to be part of the CSR team, I didn’t hesitate to put my name forward. The Group are very passionate about making a huge impact to small charities in our local community and the challenge now is to deliver on that. We have seen a positive response from the whole business to get behind our CSR drive, and with a number of successful events already done and many more planned over the coming months, we are in a prime position to fulfil our mission. It is great that staff have been given the opportunity to physically go out and support our charities as well, allowing for them to get involved and have a connection to our cause.”

Did you know?

As well as being a songwriter, Ricky is a Grade Five violinist.

Robbie ShearerHead of Field Sales

Robbie spent the early years of his working life in the public sector, including a stint in the Northumbria Police Force. After leaving his role at the Learning Skills Council, Robbie turned to a life of sales and hasn’t looked back since.

With a decade’s worth of experience in the utilities sector, Robbie is an expert on helping businesses find the right energy solution. Joining GAS in 2016, Robbie played a key role in establishing our Field Sales Division and spreading GAS’ portfolio throughout the UK.

Robbie says:

“Being at GAS has helped develop my career massively.  Working for a business and part of a senior management team who make you feel valued and make sure your contribution is recognised is really important to me and I feel like I have that in abundance here. “

Interesting fact:

I once successfully picked 5 numbers and the bonus ball on the Lotto and went to Camelot offices to collect my prize and have my picture taken.

SPID Number

Your SPID (Supply Point Identification) is a 13 digit long reference number that can be found on your most recent water bill.

Suppliers will use your unique SPID number to switch your retail services.

Victoria WaltonHead of Resource and Talent

Vic joined the GAS Group in 2016 following an 18 year career in recruitment, cutting her teeth on the Hays Plc Graduate Programme and more recently within the Senior Management Team of a locally based recruitment agency. With a degree in business management, she is tasked with developing an enviable employer brand for the group with a group strategy for attraction and selection from a constant pipeline of talented new applicants, as well as overseeing training, learning and development.

Vic says…

"GAS had already experienced a fantastic period of growth when I joined, and the vision and ambitions for the business, led by a passionate management team was enticing and exciting. With our focus to become an employer of choice in the local market, we used the success of the business and, most importantly the people within it, to create a strong personality and image for GAS, combining reward, progression, challenge and professionalism, washed down with a good dose of fun!  Highlights to date include the success of our recruits, the evolvement of our careers website and being part of the team achieving a national award in recognition for the success of our apprenticeship scheme."

Did you know…

In days gone by, she qualified as an open water scuba diver, and is handy in a quiz team when it comes to any 80’s music!

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