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The Chancellor's Spring Statement: What it means for your small business

Chancellor Philip Hammond has congratulated FSB's campaign to end the scourge of late payments, as he announced the first steps of the Government's definitive action to tackle the issue.

Announcing his Spring Statement, the Chancellor said: "“I announced a year ago that we would take definitive action to tackle the scourge of late payments for our small businesses.

"The full response to last year’s call for evidence will be published shortly. But I can announce today that as a first step we will require company audit committees to review payment practices and report on them in their annual accounts.

"My Right Honourable friend the Business Secretary will announce further details in due course, and I congratulate the FSB in particular on its tireless campaign on this issue.”.

Other wins for small businesses included a commitment to a light touch approach to regulating Making Tax Digital and the implementation of halved apprenticeship rates.

FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry said: “The commitment from the Chancellor that the Business Secretary will see this through is welcome, and we are especially pleased that the first measure has been announced – to make a Non-Executive Director responsible for the supply chain through the Audit Committee of every large business, and to report back through the Annual Report on their progress.

“The end of late payments could finally be in sight. It can’t come soon enough, to bolster small businesses at a time when they are in great need of support and a lift in confidence.”

The Chancellor also announced that, following calls from FSB, the Government would take a light touch regulatory approach to Making Tax Digital; where businesses are doing their best to comply, no filing and record keeping penalties will be issues.

Hammond said that the focus will be on supporting businesses to transition to the new system over the next two years.

In further good news: the Chancellor announced that the cut from ten to five per cent of the apprenticeship training co-investment rates in England, announced in the 2018 Budget, will come into effect in April.