Chancellor Philip Hammond reveals budget 2017 with emphasis on business rates increase

Philip Hammond delivered the first budget as Chancellor yesterday, where he announced a £300 million discretionary fund for businesses hit badly by the business rates increase.

Hammond has been facing a backlash from fellow MPs over the hike in costs, and has offered councils the £300 million fund to help companies suffering.

A £50-per-month cap on increases for firms facing the loss of small business relief will also be introduced.

Speaking about business rates, Frank Woods, retail sector specialist at commercial insurer NFU Mutual, said: “Although it was encouraging that the Chancellor responded to the concerns of businesses in announcing investment in business rate caps, I would have liked to see the special £1,000 discount for pubs extended to help all hard-pressed businesses including retailers who desperately need support.

“I am hopeful that the discretionary relief funds are fair, sufficient and effective in protecting the British high street across all areas of the UK.”

90 per cent of pubs have been given a £1,000 business rates discount.

The Chancellor also increased National Insurance rates for self-employed people, which will see Class 4 National Insurance contributions increasing by 10 per cent from nine per cent. This is expected to rise to 11 per cent in April 2019.

Class 2 will be abolished in 2018, and Hammond revealed that the two changes would mean National Insurance payments would be on average 60p a week higher.

Hammond’s decision has since faced immediate backlash, as the Conservative party revealed in its manifesto that they would not raise National Insurance bills.

During the budget, Hammond detailed new plans to inject £2 billion into England’s social care over the next three years.

He also revealed that the Government will set out options for long-term funding of the social care system later this year.

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