Conservative Party Conference Held In Birmingham - Day 1

When the Chancellor George Osborne delivers the 2015 Autumn Statement in Parliament today (Wednesday), it will be the fourth time he has delivered a Budget or Autumn Statement in the past 12 months.

In December 2014, it was the final Autumn Statement of the coalition government. Fast forward to March of this year and the Chancellor gave the final Budget of the Parliament in its traditional slot. But as is typically the case when there is a new government, Mr Osborne set out more of his plans in the Summer Budget, shortly after the Conservatives were successful at the general election.

So what can we expect from the 2015 Autumn Statement?

Well, this is an Autumn Statement and Spending Review, meaning the Chancellor isn't just setting out the government's plans for the next year, but outlining departmental budgets for the next five years - the remainder of this Parliament.

The man at Number 11 Downing Street finds himself in a very tricky situation. He is of course bound by the Conservatives' pledge to cut the deficit. But he is facing huge pressure to increase spending in some big, costly areas. Defeat in the House of Lords over his plans to cut tax credits means those savings need to be found elsewhere. And following the terrorist attack in Paris, there is widespread support for an increase in defence and security spending.

And Mr Osborne is probably going to have to push back his deadline of eliminating the deficit. Figures released last week by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that the government has borrowed £54.3 billion in the financial year so far - that's between April and October. If the Treasury wants to stick to the Office for Budget Responsibility's forecast, it will have to borrow just £15bn in the next six months. Somewhat unlikely.

Business rates

In the Summer Budget, Mr Osborne gave brief details about plans to devolve business rates to local councils, allowing them to reduce business rates in their area. And we're likely to find out more about how that will work.The idea is that potentially lower business rates will make local areas much more attractive to business owners, boosting local economies outside of London.

Of course, we know the government is set on developing its 'Northern Powerhouse'. So don't be surprised to hear some more details about plans to devolve powers, business rates and more, to areas like Manchester. Liverpool City Council chief executive Ged Fitzgerald has recently said that he is "confident" the city will receive a regional devolution deal in the Autumn Statement.

Research & Development

The business community has been handed a pretty good deal since the Conservatives took office in 2010. The party sees growing businesses as a central part of its long-term economic plan. And a wide range of policies implemented over the past five years have been targeted at getting getting businesses to invest money in themselves, in jobs and wages in particular.

R&D has been a big recipient of government support, receiving hundreds of millions of pounds. But with the purse strings loosening elsewhere, R&D funding looks set to be one of the areas that the string are tightened. And some analysts believe quite considerably.

Apprenticeship Levy

Experts and analysts appear to be in the dark about this one. But the general consensus is that George Osborne will introduce changes to the Apprenticeship Levy in order to make it easier to businesses to support more apprenticeships and tackle the skills shortage across the UK. What exactly those changes will be, no one quite knows just yet.

'One month rule'

A big one for freelancers and contractors. Although it is not certain, the government is understood to be considering plans to force freelancers and contractors to be put onto a company's payroll if work lasts more than one month. The idea is that the business would then be forced to pay National Insurance Contributions. It has been described as a crackdown on the use of "personal service companies" - all part of the government plans to crackdown on tax avoidance, which it believes could generate a further £400m for the Treasury.