Yesterday, on the 27th of October 2021, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced the 2021 Autumn Budget and Spending Review. The statement set out the Government’s spending plans for each government department for the next three financial years.

Below are some of the highlights you need to know;

Coronavirus and Public Services

• Self-employed workers who are not eligible to statutory sick pay will be able to claim contributory Employment Support Allowance

• The ESA benefit will be available from day one, not after a week as now

• Firms with fewer than 250 staff will be refunded for sick pay payments for two weeks

• Small firms will be able to access “business interruption” loans of up to £1.2m

• Business rates in England will be abolished for firms in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors with a rateable value below £51,000

Personal taxation, wages and pensions

• From 1st April 2022 the National Living Wage will increase by 6.6% to £9.50 an hour. Young people and apprentices will also see pay increases as the National Minimum Wage rates will also increase next April.

• The tax threshold for National Insurance Contributions will rise from £8,632 to £9,500

• The move, first announced in November, will take 500,000 employees out of the tax altogether

• Those earning more than £9,500 will be, on average, £85 a year better off

Business Support

• Firms eligible for small business rates relief will get a £3,000 cash grant

• Entrepreneurs’ Relief will be retained, but lifetime allowance will be reduced from £10m to £1m

• £5bn will be spent on getting gigabit-capable broadband into the hardest-to-reach places

• VAT on digital publications, including newspapers, e-books and academic journals will be scrapped from December

• Support for private R&D investment by increasing funding for core Innovate UK programmes, reaching circa £1 billion per year by 2024-25, over £300 million more per annum than in 2021-22

• New investment incentives in England totalling almost £750 million, including tax relief for eligible green investments and a new ‘business rates improvement relief’

• A new 50% business rates discount for businesses in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors in England. Overall reducing the burden of business rates in England by £7 billion over the next five years, alongside a commitment to modernise the business rates system with more frequent revaluations every three years.

Diversity & Inclusion

• Doubling the available scholarships for AI and Data Science Master’s conversion courses with a £23 million investment for under-represented groups.


• Confirms funding for the £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, as announced in the Ten Point Plan, which is accelerating near-to-market low-carbon technology innovations and the aligned £385 million Advanced Nuclear Fund which is developing the next generation of small and advanced modular reactor technologies.

The full replay of the budget statement can be viewed here