Here are some highlights of yesterday’s Budget, of relevance to freelancers and small business:

* From April 2018, a personal tax-free earnings allowance of £11,850 a year. Pay no tax, on annual earnings up to that amount. Good for artists and other low-income freelancers.

* “No business will be required to use the Making Tax Digital platform until April 2019 at the earliest” – this relates to the self-employed being required to do online tax returns. For smaller businesses, no switch “before April 2020 at the earliest”.

* “a new fund in the British Business Bank, seeded with £2.5 billion” to help successful small/medium businesses to ‘scale up’.

* New investment of “£30 million in the development of digital skills distance learning courses” (this will apparently test the use of Artificial Intelligence in such learning). Also announced was “a 2018 consultation on extending the scope of tax relief available to the self-employed for work-related training costs”.

* The government is to work on developing a “pioneering immersive technology for creative content”. No further details, but I’d guess it might involve a standard-and-safe form of in-car entertainment system for driverless robo-cars.

* The UK Games Fund “will be given an extra £1m to enable it to be extended to 2020”. The Fund gives access to financing and support for early-stage videogame creators.

* Will double the current number of UK entry visas “available to leading figures and individuals who show promise in technology, science, art and creative industries”.

* Research & Development tax credits will rise from 11% to 12%, from 1st January 2018. More measures to help the UK’s creative industries are due to be announced in the forthcoming Industrial Strategy White Paper.

* A plan to legislate to make “all online marketplaces jointly liable for VAT duties.”

* “A new railcard, for those aged 26-30. Giving 4.5 million more young people a third off their rail fares.” Seems likely to give a small boost to events attendance, employee recruitment etc.


Update: a new ‘Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre’ for the creative industries – with £6m funding to 2023 – which will be robustly independent and impartial.