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It's that time of year again, the leaves have fallen from the trees, you're counting down the days to the first window of your advent calendar (I lacked willpower this year and have an M&S beauty one, so very excited for the 1st), and it's time for the Autumn Statement.

Let's have a look at some of the changes that were announced, and the impact on small businesses.

A pink pig ornament, with rough features, and painted eyes and nostrils. With a white background.

National Insurance cuts

This is the big one, and will impact both those who are self-employed and those who are employed. For HMRC purposes, self-employed means operating as a sole trader.

From April 2024, Class 2 contributions will be abolished for those who are self-employed. These are currently £3.45 per week, and the contributions where you can voluntarily choose to pay if your profits are under a certain level.

If you're self-employed, you also pay Class 4 contributions, on profits over £12,570. These will be cut from 9% to 8%, again from April.

Contributions for those employed will be cut from 12% to 10% from 6th January 2024. This requires emergency legislation, so the effective date may change.

National living wage

The minimum wage will rise from £10.42 to £11.44 per hour in April. Previously this higher hourly rate has only been for employees aged over 23, but will be extended to 21 and 22 year olds. For 18-20 year olds the hourly rate will be £8.60, and for 16-17 year olds will be £6.40.

Business rate relief

If you have premises and are a retail, hospitality, or leisure business, the 75% discount on business rates up to £110,000 will continue for a further year.

Overall, it was very much an Autumn Statement gearing up for an election year. Against a backdrop of high inflation and cost of living pressures, however, the National Insurance cuts will help quite a few people. For example, a sole trader with profit of £30,000 will save around £350 per year.