The Budget 2015 – How does it affect our digital landscape?

The latest UK budget announcement sets the scene for the startup landscape in 2015 and beyond.  There were some interesting trends in this years budget that will affect startups and freelancers along with some larger impact projects that will speed up innovation in parts of the UK. Take a look at a few of the trends that we thought were of particular interest.

The Death of the Tax Return

A major step for freelancers and the self-employed, Osborne confirmed rumours that there would be an end to the annual tax return. Claiming “people shouldn’t be working for the taxman”, annual tax returns will be abolished by 2020 with information HMRC needs automatically uploaded into new digital tax accounts. The chancellor said that this will enable businesses to feel they are paying a “simple single business tax” – “tax shouldn’t be taxing”.

Basically all your tax records will become digital and managed through the web. The plan is to save time doing taxing tax returns each year. It will be interesting to see how this pans out in the long run. s

National Insurance Cuts for Self Employed

Class 2 National Insurance contributions for the self-employed will be abolished in the next government. Further consultations on this are to be announced.

This combined with the death of the tax return suggests that the UK government is pushing towards more self-employment within the UK as an employment trend. This means for startups there is likely to be less red tape for freelancers and more flexibility and availability of skilled people within the UK as more people go freelance.

Investment in the Internet of Things

Science and innovation will receive a major cash injection with up to £140m on infrastructure and cities of the future, and £40m in research into what is known as the Internet of Things (IoT). Osborne explained that IoT, featured in our Tech Trends of 2014, is connecting up everything from urban transport to medical devices to household appliances.

This technology trend has seen increasing growth globally and is becoming the buzz phrase for 2015.  With it comes new uses for technology and more personal data becoming available for multiple purposes. Consider how you want your personal and business data used and managed. (By you or by the companies who create the devices)

Supporting the Sharing Economy

Measures to support the sharing economy include the launch of two pilot ‘Sharing Cities’ in Leeds City Region and Greater Manchester in 2015-16.  The two cities, which will share £700,000 of public money between them, will be encouraged to trial local sharing initiatives in the areas of shared transport, shared public space, and health and social care.

The government also said it plans to introduce legislation that will make it easier for individuals to sub-let a room and for non-residential properties to rent out their existing parking spaces.

This trend opens up opportunities for start ups in the private room rental space, transport sharing and such like.  We may see more innovation in this space and legislation may have to continue to evolve to match the changing ways in which we work, live and travel together. 

What did you find interesting in the budget and how will it affect you or your company?  What trends have you noticed and how do you think they will affect you and your personal data?

About Sarah Lamb

I'm a gadget lover who has a background in technology, marketing and working with startups. I run a community network called Girl Geek Dinners to support women in tech during my spare time (not that there is as much of that as there used to be as I have two toddlers to look after as well).

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