Today's Autumn Statement was more of a mini Budget than usual. Presumably due to the recent pressure being applied by the opposition.
The good news for businesses is that taking on an under 21 year old won't cost you any national insurance, but only from April 2015. In the meantime, if you can't wait, you can employ anyone on up about £22k (or more than one person on lower salaries) from April 2014, and, under a previously announced measure, this won't cost you any national insurance either. Both rules will continue into April 2015, so you could arrange your workforce to cost you no national insurance at all.
It has at last been recognised that small retailers need help in competing against the Internet. Potentially, the most valuable relief is a 50% reduction in rates when re-occupying an empty property. Being able to pay rates in monthly instalments may also be helpful for some.