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Chancellor George Osborne delivered his final Budget speech of this parliament earlier today. As with any Budget, a number of contentious measures were either announced or ignored. At Big Red Cloud we are all about supporting small businesses and there were a number of measures announced that will affect how you do business going forward.

In our Budget preview we raised awareness that corporation tax was to fall to 20% from April 1st. Osborne has confirmed that this will indeed go ahead which is a welcome move for businesses and their customers.

The national minimum wage is set to be increased by 20p. From October the hourly rate will be £6.70. This will of course affect the wage bills of many businesses, small or otherwise, across the United Kingdom.

National Insurance contributions have been cut, perhaps in an effort to offset the increase in minimum wage. From April, employers’ contributions for under 21s will be abolished completely. Furthermore, from April 2016, employers’ contributions will be abolished for young apprentices. This will keep the cost of taking on extra staff down for certain businesses.

Something that will definitely make doing business easier is the abolishment of annual tax returns as we know them. A digital tax account with HMRC is proposed although specific details are still to be disclosed. Making your tax returns simpler will definitely be seen as a positive. Rather than spending time doing work for the HMRC, you can spend it running your business.

Another technological positive for small businesses is the commitment of £600 million that the Chancellor announced to improve mobile phone networks, including mobile internet nationwide. This is an important development for rural businesses going forward. It comes at a time when entrepreneurial activity is at a high in the United Kingdom and will be an important, enabling tool for businesses in remote areas.

For those who’s day to day work includes a lot of time spent on the road, the fuel duty freeze will certainly be well received. Tax on fuel had been scheduled to increase in September 2015 but that increase has been cancelled as of today’s announcements.

Osborne also announced plans to develop two new ‘enterprise zones’ in Plymouth and Blackpool, building on the existing number of these zones that have been developed in the United Kingdom since 2012.

Finally, in the next parliament, Osborne announced his intention to completely abolish Class 2 National Insurance contributions for self-employed persons. This would help to keep up the number of new businesses started over the coming years. Whether this tax cut takes place could largely depend on the upcoming General Election.

All in all there are a number of positive measures here to make trading day to day easier for small businesses with some measures that will make an immediate difference such as national insurance contributions and the corporation tax rate falling from 21% to 20%. Longer term, a commitment to technological advancements for businesses in the form of digital tax management and an investment in mobile networks seem like logical policies to enable business.

Are you a small business owner? How has your business been affected by the Budget? Join our conversation on Twitter: @bigredcloud

Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

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