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Key Highlights from the Autumn Statement 2023

The UK Chancellor's Autumn Statement for 2023, presented this week outlined several key policies impacting various sectors, including the food and drink industries.

The statement's highlights are as follows:

  1. Capital Allowance Made Permanent: The full expensing capital allowance, introduced temporarily in the Spring Budget of 2023, will now be a permanent fixture.

  2. National Insurance Rates Cut: From 6th January 2024, there will be a reduction in the national insurance contributions for both employees and the self-employed.

  3. Living Wage Increase: April 2024 will see the living wage rise from £10.42 to £11.44.

  4. Business Rates and Tax Relief Extensions: Business rates will continue at the current 75% for an additional year, and the rate multiplier for small businesses will remain unchanged for the 2024/25 period. Additionally, the period for tax reliefs will be extended.

  5. Introduction of a Climate Change Agreement Scheme: This new scheme aims to provide £300 million in tax relief to businesses that achieve specific energy efficiency goals.

The industry's response to these policies reflects a mix of optimism and concern.

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) expressed reservations about the limited applicability of some measures to farm businesses, underscoring the necessity for focused investment to support the UK's primary manufacturing sector, which includes food and drink.

The Cold Chain Federation (CCF) welcomed the Climate Change Agreement scheme, emphasising its significance in advancing energy efficiency in the cold storage segment of the industry.

Logistics UK's David Wells called for more details on how these policies would support the industry's shift towards net-zero emissions and the implications of the streamlined planning system for logistics companies.

Representatives from the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) pointed out the absence of specific initiatives for the food production, processing, and distribution sectors in the statement, despite their considerable economic importance.

They also highlighted the uncertain impact of these policies on consumers, who are currently grappling with high food prices and other economic pressures.


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