In British finance minister Alistair Darling’s pre-budget report to parliament last month, a plan was laid out to help businesses in the UK.

Here are some of the changes that are being implemented that may impact you.

Spread Out Tax Payments

HM Revenue & Customs will help firms “spread their tax on a timetable they can afford.” All business taxes are covered by the plan and troubled businesses will have “as long as they need” to make their payments.

Easier Access to Financing

Under a deal with the European Investment Bank, £4bn will be pumped into banks with the purpose of making this money available to small and medium-sized businesses.

Government Credit

£1bn worth of credit will be offered to small businesses through a Small Business Finance Scheme.

Export Credits

To help small exporters, the Export Credit Guarantee Department will, starting in January, make available £1bn as working capital for these smaller exporters who have been hard hit by the financial downturn.

Tax Breaks

Small companies will not have to deal with a previously planned increase in their corporate tax rate. The planned increase has been deferred, meaning their tax rate will stay the same in 2009.

Changes to Tax Repayments

Up to £50,000 in a company’s losses can be offset against profits earned over the past three years. Prior to this change, losses could only offset profits earned in the previous year.

Darling’s report estimates that 75,000 businesses will be able to take advantage of this scheme and 90% of them will have “their full current losses wiped out.”


Medium and large-sized companies earning foreign dividends can expect an exemption in 2009 and Darling promises to “improve our rules for taxing controlled foreign companies.


As already detailed here on Econsultancy, the standard VAT rate was reduced to 15% on December 1, 2008.

For more information about all of the changes, be sure to visit the HM Revenue & Customs website, which contains the 2008 Pre-Budget Report.