As the festive lights fade and the reality of routine kicks back in for many business owners - now’s a good time to think about what 2024 will bring.
Having a sense of what’s coming up can help you to plan and mitigate against any significant disruption.
So here’s what we know about 2024 so far.
Making sure your business gets off on the right foot in 2024 starts with making sure you don’t have to pay a fine for filing a late self-assessment tax return or forgetting to pay your tax bill.
Ensure you have filed your online tax return by January 31, 2024.
Remember, you also need to pay your tax bill (and any payment on account that might be due) by the same date.
Read more about small business tax.
We don’t yet know when the general election will be, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is working on the assumption that it will be “in the second half of this year”, but whenever it happens the outcome could bring about all sorts of potential change.
That might mean there’s some stability for the first half of 2024 in the faces we see running things, but I wouldn’t bet on there being no changes otherwise. For a start, we’re going to get another budget.
The Government has now set the date for the Spring Budget. We can expect Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to deliver it to the House of Commons on March 6, 2024.
You only have to look back at the Autumn Statement to see how things can change for SMEs. In November, Hunt announced:
A continued relief for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with the discount on business rates extended through 2024/25
A simplification to taxes paid by the self-employed. Class 2 National Insurance would be abolished and Class 4 National Insurance would be cut from 9% to 8% for those earning profits between £12,570 and £50,270
Tax deduction for investment in equipment would be made permanent, meaning businesses can continue claiming tax relief worth up to 25p for every £1 spent on investments
An increase to the minimum wage, rising to £11.44 for those over the age of 21 from April 2024
It’s difficult to know for certain what the Chancellor will announce in March, but with the general election coming up it’s difficult to not imagine a scenario where more tax cuts are announced at the very least.
I’ll bring you the latest on that and what it means for your business as announcements are made.
The inflation rate in the UK is currently 4%, down from a high of 11.1% in October 2022.
On February 1, 2024 the Bank of England’s first monetary policy meeting announcement will be made. This is the date to remember as it’s when their next interest rate decision will be announced.
High inflation impacts everyone, and SMEs aren’t immune to its effects. With both inflation and the cost of living being at record highs for a while now, SMEs have had to change their approach to almost every aspect of their business.
Whether you’ve had to increase the cost that a customer pays, needed to dip into personal savings or even had to stop paying yourself a salary - the knock on effect of the last couple of years continues to be felt. If inflation continues on the downward trend we’ve been seeing recently, we can hope that 2024 will see costs come down and ease the ongoing pressures SMEs continue to face.
Green initiatives and climate tech are helping businesses to be more sustainable. To share success stories while highlighting some of the exciting and inspiring business initiatives in this space - look out for the UK Green Business Awards, taking place on June 12, 2024.
Another positive upshot in climate tech is the demonstrable growth in the sector. HSBC Innovation Banking shared findings recently showing that in 2023 electric mobility and electric vehicle (EV) batteries were in the top funded UK climate tech startup segments, raising $2.2B and $1.2B respectively.
And in August last year the UK government launched the UK Business Climate Hub, a “one-stop-shop to help businesses save money and go green.”
To achieve this, the hub allows British businesses access to advice and support to reduce their energy bills and cut carbon emissions. Among other benefits, the hub provides small businesses with advice on everything from paying less for EVs and getting a low-carbon heat pump, to generating green energy and selling it back to the grid to make money.
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