Business backs full expensing and increasing the minimum wage
January 15th, 2024, Christien Pheby

Business backs full expensing and increasing the minimum wage

The 2023 Autumn Statement contained a raft of economic policies that will affect the nation’s businesses, including full expensing, tax breaks, and cuts to national insurance. But what do these businesses make of the new measures? 

Fresh data from YouGov’s B2B Survey – which polls senior decision makers at businesses across the country – reveals broad support for eight key policies outlined by the Chancellor in the Autumn Statement. The most popular announcement was full expensing, which allows businesses to claim money spent on equipment back against tax, and three-quarters of those surveyed (74%) said was a good idea. An increase of the minimum wage from £10.42 per hour to £11.44 per hour (73%) saw similar levels of support. 

Looking at business rates, seven in ten backed the 75% discount for retail, hospitality, and leisure companies (71%) and freezing the small business multiplier for another year (71%). On National Insurance, over six in ten supported cutting the main rate for employees (65%) and reducing Class 4 contributions from 9% to 8% (63%). Nearly as many believed that removing Class 2 National insurance entirely was a good idea (57%). 

The most contentious measure we polled was the £500m in funding for AI innovation centres: while half of businesses endorsed the policy (50%), two in five (39%) thought it was the wrong priority for the present time. 

But support for these policies doesn’t necessarily translate to support for the statement overall. 

By 46% to 11%, businesses say the Autumn Statement offered too little support

Overall, just three in ten businesses (31%) say the Autumn Statement offered the right amount of support. Some 46% say it offered too little, and just 11% say it offered too much. 

Small businesses were more negative: 52% said it was insufficient, 9% said it was too generous, and just 26% said the balance was correct. Large businesses, however, were more likely to say the Autumn Statement either got it right (39%) or offered too much support (14%) – and less likely to say it offered too little (35%). 

When businesses are asked about the effect the measures outlined in the statement will have on enterprises across the country, three in ten said they will leave companies better off (29%), while a fifth said the opposite (20%). However, some 47% said the measures would make no difference either way. It’s a similar story when asked about the impact they expect these policies to have on their own organisation: a fifth (21%) said the Autumn Statement would improve their lot and nearly as many said it would make it worse (17%), but over half (56%) said it would have no effect either way. 

Asked about the effect on the wider economy, and a fifth (21%) say it will be better off thanks to the Autumn Statement, a quarter (27%) say it will be worse off, and half (48%) say it will make no difference. 

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YouGov Surveys: Serviced provide quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. This study was conducted online on 29 November – 6 December 2023, with a nationally representative sample of 1,187 business decision makers (aged 18+ years) in Great Britain, using a questionnaire designed by YouGov. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.