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Your business guide to the 2021 Autumn Budget - What were the key measures announced?

On 27 October, the Chancellor set out the 2021 Autumn Budget outlining a series of measures to support businesses and help the economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. We've summarised the key points you need to know.

On 27 October,  the Chancellor set out the 2021 Autumn Budget outlining a series of measures to support businesses and help the economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. We've summarised the key points you need to know.

Business funding

Support Schemes

Recovery Loan Scheme

The scheme will be extended until 30 June 2022. However, from 1 January 2022, the scheme will change and:

  • It will only be open to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs)
  • The maximum amount of finance available will be £2 million per business (instead of the current £10 million)
  • The government guarantee to lenders will be reduced from 80% to 70%


Help to Grow: Digital scheme

The scheme which was originally announced at Spring Budget will be launching in December 2021 providing small businesses with free, impartial online support on how to use digital technology to boost their performance. Eligible businesses will also be able to access a discount of up to 50% towards the costs of buying approved software, worth up to £5,000.

For more information on the Help to Grow programme and to register your interest visit the government's dedicated page, here.



  • The National Living Wage will increase by 6.6% to £9.50 an hour from 1st April 2022
  • The National Minimum Wage rates will also increase in April.
  • £170 million will be invested in 2024-25 to increase the hourly rate to be paid to early years providers to deliver the government’s free childcare hours.


  • The Universal Credit taper rate will be permanently cut by 8% from 63p to 55p.
  • Universal Credit work allowances will be increased by £500 a year by 1 December 2021.


  • £6 billion of funding for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) over the next three years to help people earn more and gain the right skills.
  • This includes £90 million to extend the Job Entry Targeted Support Scheme for another year (to the end of September 2022), continuing to provide support for those unemployed for between three and twelve months to find work.
  • A new Scale-up Visa will be launching in spring 2022. This will help businesses to access overseas talent. The visa will be open to applicants who pass the language proficiency requirement and have a high-skilled job offer from an eligible business with a salary of at least £33,000.


Business Rates

The government will:

  • freeze the business rates multiplier for a second year, from 1 April 2022 until 31 March 2023
  • introduce a new temporary business rates discount for eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties in England for 2022-23. Eligible properties will receive 50% relief, up to a maximum of £110,000.
  • introduce a 100% improvement relief for business rates. This means that from 2023, every single business will be able to make property improvements – and, for 12 months, pay no extra business rates.
  • introduce from 1 April 2023 until 31 March 2035 targeted business rate exemptions for eligible plant and machinery used in onsite renewable energy generation and storage, and a 100% relief for eligible heat networks, to support the decarbonisation of non-domestic buildings
  • extend transitional relief for SMEs, and the supporting small business scheme, for 1 year. This will restrict bill increases to 15% for small properties (up to a rateable value of £20,000 or £28,000 in Greater London) and 25% for medium properties (up to a rateable value of £100,000), subject to subsidy control limits

Alcohol and other duties 


  • Reforms (A consultation on these will be published and will close on 30 January 2022)
    • All beverages will be taxed in direct proportion to their alcohol content
    • The government intends to introduce reduced rates for products below 3.5% ABV.
    • The government also intends to introduce a common small producer relief, so to reduce the tax burden on smaller producers of wine, cider, spirits and made-wine below 8.5% ABV.
    • A new relief will also be introduced, with duty rates on draft beer and cider being cut by 5%.
  • The duty rates on beer, cider, wine and spirits will be frozen for another year.


  • The government will freeze fuel duty UK-wide in 2022-23


  • Duty rates on all tobacco products will increase by RPI + 2%.
  • The rate on hand-rolling tobacco will increase by RPI + 6% and the minimum excise tax will increase by RPI +3% this year.
  • These changes will take effect from 6pm on 27 October 2021.

Other tax reliefs

Other measures announced


  • £5.7 billion for eight English city regions to transform local transport networks through London-style integrated settlements. Greater Manchester will be allocated £1.07 billion which can be used for schemes such as next-generation Metrolink tram-train vehicles.

  • £3 billion investment to level up bus services in England

  • £355 million new funding for zero-emission buses


  • £11.5 billion will be invested in the Affordable Homes Programme in England from 2021-26 to help build up to 180,000 new affordable homes (65% of funding will go towards homes outside London.


  • £5.9 billion over the next three years to support the NHS. Of this:
    • £2.3 billion will ensure there are at least 100 community diagnostic centres helping patients across England access earlier diagnostic tests, health check and scans closer to home.
    • £2.1 billion will support innovative use of digital technology so hospitals and other care organisations are as connected and efficient as possible
    • £1.5 billion will be used for new surgical hubs, increased bed capacity and equipment to help elective services recover, including surgeries and other medical procedures.


  • £4.7 billion will be invested in the core schools budget in England
  • £1.8 billion will be invested in education recovery and catch-up
  • £2.6 billion of capital funding for new school places for children with special educational needs and disabilities


  • £302 million will fund new early years programmes including bespoke breastfeeding services and parent-infant mental support, and funding to rollout Family Hubs across England.
  • An extra £200 million will be invested in the Supporting Families programme.

Criminal Justice System

  • £1.9 billion funding to reduce backlogs in criminal courts caused by COVID-19 and improve waiting times.


To view the Chancellor's full speech in the House of Commons, see here.

Find out more about the specific projects in the North West announced as part of the Autumn Budget (page 3-5) Read the 2021 Autumn Budget and Spending Review in full. This includes all supporting documents

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