Government announces energy bill support for businesses
A new Energy Bill Relief Scheme will provide help with the cost of gas and electricity for all non-domestic customers, including all UK businesses and voluntary and public sector organisations. The scheme will apply to fixed contracts agreed on or after 1 April 2022, as well as to deemed, variable and flexible tariffs for energy usage from 1 October to 31 March.
Customers do not need to take action or apply to the scheme to access the support, which will automatically be applied to bills. After three months, there will be a review into the operation of the scheme to inform decisions on further support after March 2023.
The level of price reduction for each business will depend on their contract type and circumstances. A parallel scheme, based on the same criteria and offering comparable support but recognising the different market fundamentals, will be established in Northern Ireland.
Full information is available in the press notice.
Additional energy support for households
The government has also announced the Energy Price Guarantee for households in Great Britain, limiting the price suppliers can charge customers for units of gas and electricity. This support is in addition to the previously announced £400 energy bills discount.
The Business Secretary has also confirmed equivalent support for households in Northern Ireland, via the Northern Ireland Energy Price Guarantee. Households in Northern Ireland will also receive a £400 discount on their bills, through the Northern Ireland Energy Support Scheme.
Chancellor announces new Growth Plan
On Friday, the government announced a new plan for growth that introduces a massive package of tax cuts and new investment zones in an effort to increase productivity.
Tax cuts include:
– Cancelling the planned rise of the Corporation Tax rate from 19% to 25%;
– Retaining the Diverted Profit Tax rate at 25% and cancelling the Bank Corporation Tax Surcharge cut;
– Reducing the top rate of income tax from 45% to 40% on annual earnings above £150,000, and cut the basic rate of income tax to 19% from April 2023; and
– Scrapping the National Insurance increase and the Health and Social Care Levy.
The Chancellor also announced the formation of new investment zones across the UK. Investment zones will introduce tax cuts for businesses and minimise the need for planning applications to allow for accelerated development.
Businesses in designated areas in investment zones will receive 100% business rates relief on newly occupied and expanded premises. They will also receive full stamp duty land tax relief on land bought for commercial or residential development and a zero rate for employer National Insurance contributions on new employee earnings up to £50,270 per year.
Full details of all the measures in the Chancellor’s announcement are in the press release.
New crack down on fraud and money-laundering
The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill has been introduced to give Companies House greater powers to tackle the use of businesses as a front for crime.
Anyone who registers a company in the UK will need to verify their identity, and Companies House will be given new powers to check, challenge and decline incorrect or fraudulent information. It will also be able to cross check data with public and private partners, and report suspicious activity to security agencies and law enforcement.
Under the provisions of the Bill, law enforcement agencies will also be granted stronger powers to more easily and quickly seize, freeze and ultimately recover crypto-assets which are increasingly used for illicit activity and ransomware attacks.
The government has published a series of factsheets that explain the various provisions in the Bill.
- The government has introduced the Brexit Freedoms Bill to amend, repeal or replace all retained EU legislation by 2023. The provisions of the Bill will apply to the whole of the UK, and the government will work with the devolved administrations and other stakeholders to deliver the best possible outcome.
The Home Office has launched a consultation to support its efforts to combat cybercrime. The consultation seeks views on how to reduce the burden on people for their cyber security and encourage organisations to further protect their customers’ accounts and personal data. People and businesses have until 27 October to respond.