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Autumn Budget 2021: Britain Scours World For Best Brains

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has pledged to attract the best global talent to Britain with a new visa for the highly skilled.

The visa is a key part of government plans to raid the rest of the world for the best talent to help the UK’s fastest-growing businesses from spring next year.

The Scale-up Visa is open to applicants earning at least £33,000 a year who can speak English fluently and have a high-skilled job offer.

The business making the job offer must demonstrate average annual revenue growth or an employment growth rate of more than 20 per cent over three years. The firm must also have had at least ten staff at the start of the three-year term.

Sunak told MPs in his Autumn 2021 Budget that he wanted to modernise immigration by attracting global talent for Britain’s academic, science, research and technology sectors.

The Scale-up Visa is not the only move to streamline immigration.

Quest for top talent

The Chancellor added the launch of a new Global Business Mobility Visa. The visa is aimed at helping overseas businesses to establish a presence or to transfer staff to Britain.

And he also intends to reform the Global Talent Visa to enable international prize holders and scholarship winners to qualify for a visa automatically.

Visa reform will extend to offering businesses practical help if they are navigating the visa process for the first time by cutting red tape to make negotiating the application process easier.

The government’s quest for top talent doesn’t stop with visa reform.

Also unveiled to start in the spring is a new Global Talent Network that actively seeks overseas science and technology talent by raiding the best brains from universities, innovation hubs and research labs to bring to the UK.

The network will open in the Bay Area of Boston, USA, and the city of Bengaluru in India.

100 entrepreneurs targeted

Running in tandem with the network, the Global Entrepreneur program targets 100 entrepreneurs to bring to the UK each year.

Lastly, the Chancellor is calling for evidence to decide if more companies should have access to enterprise management incentives (EMI) to recruit and retain talent. EMI are share options for the staff and directors of small companies.

“It is vital that innovative businesses have access to the talent and skills they need,” said Sunak.

“Highskilled migration boosts innovation, jobs and competitiveness. For example, 49% of the UK’s fastest-growing businesses have at least one foreign-born co-founder, and approximately 40% of staff in UK fintechs are from overseas.

“That is why in spring 2022, the government will launch the Scaleup, High Potential Individual, and Global Business Mobility visas to attract highly skilled people and support inward investment. The government is also launching a Global Talent Network to proactively find and bring talented people to the UK in key science and technology sectors.”

Changes to the visa system follow calls from industry headed by Lord Mayor of London William Russell, who has long argued that the financial services talent pool for The City is running dry.

“Currently, just under 20 per cent of the financial services workforce is international, rising to 42 per cent in Fintech,” said Russell.

“This world-class multinational and multilingual workforce gives Britain an edge over our rivals. But, to protect our competitive advantage, policymakers must ensure that our businesses maintain unrivalled access to the most important source of future growth available: top global talent.”

Autumn Budget 2021 Round-up

The Chancellor’s Autumn Budget 20212 lays out the government’s tax and spending plans for the next 12 months.

Here’s a digest of the main points:

Economy and public finances

  • Inflation is likely to rise from 3.1 per cent in September to an average of 4 per cent over the next year, putting more strain on business and household cash flows
  • GDP growth will hit 6.5 per cent this year, and 6 per cent in 2022 as the economy shrugs off the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Jobless figures are expected to peak at 5.9 per cent next year – 50 per cent less than the worst forecast

Taxation and duties

  • A fuel duty increase is cancelled again as pump prices hit their highest in eight years
  • Business rates offer a 50 per cent discount in England of up to £110,000 for the hospitality and leisure sectors in 2022-23. This should apply to furnished holiday lets.
  • A planned rise in duty for beer, wines, ciders and spirit is scrapped
  • An overhaul of duty on alcoholic drinks will see six of the 15 rates cancelled. A new rating system will ensure the weakest drinks attract the least duty while the strongest cost the most.
  • From October 27, 2021, the deadline for reporting and paying capital gains tax (CGT) bills extends from 30 to 60 days after completion of the sale or disposal. The change applies to non-residents and residents.

“This will ensure that taxpayers have sufficient time to report and pay CGT, as recommended by the Office of Tax Simplification. In addition, when UK residents dispose of a mixed-use property, legislation will also clarify that the 60-day payment window will only apply to the residential element of the property gain,” said the Chancellor.

Autumn Budget 2021 FAQ

What is the Budget?

Each autumn, the Chancellor of the Exchequer – the minister responsible for government finances – announces the government’s plans for cutting or raising taxes and how ministers intend to spend their money in the coming 12 months.

How long did the Budget last?

Rishi Sunak spoke for just over an hour and outlined 65 policy decisions

Does the Budget apply to the entire UK?

No. Some sections apply UK-wide, like defence and immigration, but the assemblies in Scotland and Wales make their own decisions over other services, like education. However, if the Chancellor announces extra spending in England, the equivalent is allocated to the other assemblies according to the Barnett Formula.

When was the first Budget?

No one is exactly sure when the term ‘budget’ originated, but historians cite the 1733 financial statement from Sir Robert Walpole, acting as prime minister and Chancellor, as the first example.

Budge is the old English word for a small bag or briefcase, like the Chancellor’s red box famously held up each Budget day.

What’s in the Chancellor’s red box?

Many people believe the Budget papers are in the red box, but in reality, it’s the Chancellor’s speech – and maybe his packed lunch.

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