Today, the UK government delivered the Autumn Statement, their annual financial update. This was positioned as a tax cutting and business growth budget - but at Wow, we’re scratching our heads to see how anything announced today really helps our clients.

These are the headline announcements from our perspective:

  • National Insurance rate cut from 12% to 10% (from January 2024)
  • National Living Wage increase to £11.44 per hour (from April 2024)  
  • Confirmation of changes to R&D tax credit scheme
  • Self employment taxes reformed. Class 2 NIC abolished. Class 4 NIC reduced from 9% to 8% (from April 2024)
  • Measures to tackle the late payment problem
  • No change to tax thresholds announced 

Here is some further insight on each of these announcements:

National Insurance rate cut

For employees paying Class 1 National Insurance Contributions (NIC) at the current 12% rate, charged on income between £12,570 and £50,270, this will be cut to 10%. Income in excess of £50,270 will continue to be subject to Class 1 NIC at 2%. This cut will come into effect from January 2024 and is predicted to save the average employee earning £35,400 a year around £450 annually. If you pay yourself mainly in dividends, with a salary under £12,570 this won’t affect you - but it will be a few extra pounds in your employees’ pay packets after Christmas.

National Living Wage increased

The National Living Wage will increase by 9.8% to £11.44 an hour from April 2024.

Confirmation of changes to R&D tax relief scheme

The government has once again confirmed it intends to merge the RDEC and SME Research & Development (R&D) schemes to bring them under one scheme from April 2024.

Before today’s statement, a company was considered to be R&D intensive if 40% or more of its total expenditure was ‘qualifying R&D expenditure’, this has now been reduced to 30% meaning more companies will be able to benefit from the higher R&D relief available to R&D intensive SMEs. This means a higher tax credit of 14.5% could be claimed compared to the 10% tax credit claimable by non-R&D intensive loss-making SMEs. 

Self-employment taxes reformed

Taxes for self-employed people are being reformed. Class 2 NIC is being abolished, saving the average self-employed person £192 a year. Class 4 NIC is also being reduced from 9% to 8%. To be clear though, if you operate through a Limited company, this doesn’t apply to you. Both changes to self-employed NICs will come in from 6 April 2024. 

Late payment problem

Businesses will be supported with tougher regulation on late payers to improve prompt payments. From April 2024, firms bidding for government contracts over £5m, will have to demonstrate they pay their own invoices within an average of 55 days, reducing to 45 days in April 2025, and to 30 days in the future.

No change to tax thresholds

Something that wasn’t announced was any change to tax thresholds - this is the level at which you start paying tax, or paying higher rates of tax. Where incomes have increased on the back of high inflation, more people are paying tax and more people are paying higher rates of tax. This means that in spite of the headlines around tax cuts, the government will actually be increasing the overall tax take as a result of the Autumn Statement 2023. Most of us and our colleagues will be paying more tax, rather than less.


Against a backdrop of low to no growth in the UK economy, we were hoping for more support for growing businesses and the people who work for them. The chancellor claims that the UK is growing, but this is not how it feels to many business owners at the moment and the economic data supports this view. We struggled to identify a coherent strategy amongst the 110 so-called ‘growth measures’ announced in the Autumn Statement 2023, with few of the measures actually helping the growing businesses we work with.

General announcements

The full Autumn Statement is published here on the government website and contains further detail on the measures listed above. There were several other general announcements made in today’s Budget including that duty on alcohol has been frozen until at least August 2024. Check-out this BBC article for a full run down. 

Further advice

The information included in this article does not constitute advice. If you would like further advice on any of the changes discussed in this article, please get in touch with us at Wow. 

At Wow we are focused on how we can best help you and your business. If there is anything you would like to talk through with us - either regarding the changes discussed in this article, or otherwise - please get in touch with your Wow adviser or email us at