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  • Budget Day 2018

    So today the Rt Hon Philip Hammond is set to deliver the Autumn Budget for 2018. It is usually delivered on the last Wednesday of the month but the Chancellor feared the national press would use Halloween references to rip the Budget apart with headlines such as “Hammond Horror” or “A Nightmare on Downing Street”!

    This is the last Budget before Brexit and it is rumoured that there will be no major shocks. There will no doubt be the usual increase in alcohol duties and tobacco duties, but it will be the online retailers that the Chancellor is under increasing pressure to introduce a digital tax. Further investment is thought to be announced to plough money in to the high street. This would go a short way to help save the High Street and our beloved local independents, whilst also ensuring the jobs for tens of thousands of people working there.

    It is also understood that the Chancellor will announce a massive increase in spending on the UK roads over the next 5 years with spending thought to be close to £29.0bn, with £420m of that expected to be used directly towards tackling potholes. This is great news for the cyclist with extra cycle lanes being built and safer roads for cyclists to ride. Cycling is up over 80% in major towns and Cities and this investment will go some way to help improve the infrastructure.

    All eyes will be on Philip Hammond come 15.30 today! We will update key facts as they happen…

    UPDATES BELOW (source BBC):

    • The state of the economy

      • Era of austerity is “finally coming to an end”
      • 2018 growth forecast upgraded from 1.3% to 1.6%
      • Growth forecast of 1.4%, 1.4%, 1.5% and 1.6% in four subsequent years
      • 3.3 million more people in work since 2010
      • Wages growth at its highest in nearly a decade

      The state of the public finances

      • Public borrowing in 2018 to be £11.6bn lower than forecast in March, representing 1.2% of gross domestic product, (GDP) the total value of goods produced and services provided
      • Borrowing forecast to fall in subsequent years to £31.8bn, £26.7bn. £23.8bn, £20.8bn and £19.8bn
      • Debt as share of GDP to fall from 85.2% in 2016-17 to 83.7% this year and to 74.1% by 2023-24


      • Extra £500m for preparations for leaving the EU
      • Spring Statement next March could be upgraded to full Budget if needed
      • A commemorative 50p coin to mark the UK’s departure from the EU (announced on 29 October)

      Alcohol, tobacco and fuel

      • Beer, cider and spirits duties to be frozen
      • Wine duty to rise in line with inflation
      • Tobacco duty will continue to rise by inflation plus 2%
      • Fuel duty to be frozen for ninth year in a row (announced on 3 October)

      Personal taxation and wages

      Stamp duty and housing

      • All shared equity purchases of up to £500,000 to be exempt from stamp duty
      • £500m for the Housing Infrastructure Fund, designed to enable a further 650,000 homes to be built
      • Lettings relief limited to properties where the owner is in shared occupancy with the tenant

      Welfare and pensions

      Defence and security

      • An extra £160m for counter-terrorism police
      • An extra £1bn for armed forces, for cyber-capabilities and the UK’s new nuclear submarine programme
      • £10m for mental health care for veterans, to mark the centenary of World War One Armistice
      • £1.7m in education programmes to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, in northern Germany

      Business and digital

      • New digital services tax on UK revenues of big technology companies, from April 2020
      • Profitable companies with global sales of more than £500m will be eligible
      • Private finance initiative (PFI) contracts to be abolished in future
      • New centre of excellence to manage existing deals “in the taxpayer’s interest”
      • Annual investment allowance to be increased from £200,000 to £1m for two years
      • Contribution of small companies to apprenticeship levy to be reduced from 10% to 5%
      • Business rates bill for companies with a rateable value of £51,000 or less to be cut by third over two years
      • Measure to benefit 90% of independent companies, cutting bill by £8,000
      • £900m in business rates relief for small businesses and £650m to rejuvenate High Streets
      • New mandatory business rates relief for all lavatories made available for public use, whether publicly or privately owned
      • Extending changes to the way self-employment status is taxed, from the public sector to medium and large private companies, from 2020

      Education and health (England only)

      • Confirmation of an extra £20.5bn for the NHS over the next five years
      • A minimum extra £2bn a year for mental health services
      • New mental health crisis centre, providing support in every accident and emergency unit in the country
      • An extra £700m for councils, for care for the elderly and those with disabilities
      • £10m for air ambulances
      • A one-off £400m “bonus” to help schools buy “the little extras they need”

      Transport, infrastructure and culture

      • A £30bn package for England’s roads, including repairs to motorways and potholes (announced on 27 October)
      • A 30% growth in infrastructure spending
      • Opening the use of e-passport gates at airports – currently available to people from Europe – to those from the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Japan

      Environment and energy

      • A new tax on non-recycled plastic packaging
      • No tax on takeaway coffee cups but this will be reconsidered if the industry doesn’t make enough progress
      • £60m for planting trees in England
      • £10m to deal with abandoned waste sites
  • AM to PM with Frank Curran

    AM to PM with Frank Curran

    AM to PM is your exclusive insight into the busy schedules of some of Bath and Somerset’s top professionals.

    Frank Curran is Managing Director of Powabyke – a Somerset-based electric bikecompany established in 1997. Powabyke has sold over 45,000 bikes in the UK and also sells conversion kits, allowing regular push bikes to be converted to electric.

    With demand increasing year on year, electric bikes will make up nearly a third of the UK bike market by the end of 2019, meaning more busy times ahead for Frank and the Powabyke team.

    What time do you get up?

    It varies on what I am doing that day, if I’m office based (which is just over a mile away) then as late as 8am. A couple of times a week though I am out and about visiting bike dealerships and suppliers so it can be as early as 4.30am depending upon my destination.

    What helps you to get your day off on the right foot?

    A hot shower first thing in the morning without fail. I don’t have any other routines that need adhering to. I try and keep everything as simple as possible.

    What’s the first thing you do when you get to the office?

    The kettle is on before I’ve even turned on my computer, I’m a bit of a coffee-holic! Then it’s sit down time and reply to emails for the first hour whilst enjoying a strong coffee.

    What bit of kit/tech helps your day run smoothly?

    I’m not a tech head at all really, yes I have a tablet, but I’m not reliant upon it. I suppose the iPhone is the one thing I’m always checking and would struggle to be without during the day. It’s great to clear emails and non-urgent stuff, whilst also convenient for quick website browsing.

    Where’s your favourite place to go for lunch? 

    Being based in the middle of the countryside there’s not a lot of options. On the occasions I do venture out, then I cycle to Chew Valley Lake and take my lunch with me. It’s a great way to clear the mind and helps relax me. It’s also a good way to test bikes or incorporate an impromptu photo shoot as there are some lovely scenic views en route.

    What is the best part about your job?

    Being my own boss without a doubt! I enjoy the variety the job brings, one minute I may be converting a tricycle to electric, then the next I’m thinking about the pictures and wording of products for a new brochure. Of course it’s not all glamorous, quite often I’m covered in oil and muck having done a service on a Powabyke!

    What does a typical day involve?

    Each day comes naturally. With the variety of roles I have there’s always something different to work on. Once we’re up to date with the picking and packing of orders, we may then look at planning our stand for The Cycle Show, or research potential new bike models to enhance the Powabyke range.

    How do you unwind after work?

    I tend to head up to Farrington Park Golf course and hit a few balls on the driving range, or play 9 holes of golf depending on how much time I have. Anything in and around the golf course is a great way for me to unwind including a trip to the 19th hole for a cheeky beer afterwards.

    To find out more about Powabyke visit:

  • Powabyke Logo - The original electric bike New website is finally live!

    So today is the big day… NEW WEBSITE GOES LIVE! While we are ecstatic with everything so far, we know there may be a few glitches so bear with us! We hope to get these smoothed out as quickly as possible. In the meantime, please check back periodically as new stuff is uploaded. Until next time…