4 December 2014

When it comes to our mood as a nation, it’s the government that either stops us in our tracks and makes us lose confidence, or motivates us and keeps us feeling optimistic. For me, yesterday’s autumn statement achieved the latter. I don’t often put much trust in politicians, but I got the sense that they were successfully maintaining the momentum we have worked hard to achieve. Surely this can only be seen as a positive.

autumn_statementHaving said that, there were some places where I thought their ideas were lacking. Firstly, the plans to place a 25% tax on big multinationals diverting profits offshore, whilst a step in the right direction, are still not fool proof. How is the government planning to manage that when these huge corporations have very clever accountants and lawyers working for them? Surely they will just find other loopholes. This isn’t to say I don’t support the idea, as it would be a colossal win if it worked. However, I still think a flat rate of tax would be more effective.

There was also lot of mention of a ‘Northern Powerhouse’, and I’ve been asked whether I think this is simply rhetoric designed to win North West voters ahead of the election. Personally, I think it’s too early to tell, but there are some good ideas there. I wasn’t sure about the idea of Manchester having an elected Mayor until I heard that Tom Bloxham might be in the running, as I think he’d be great for the job. He’s an exceptionally capable businessman and he knows a lot about architecture, which is very important to this city.

However, what I would say is that we don’t need to be investing everything into infrastructure as a way to support business growth. Yes, upgrading transport links and roads is a good thing, but surely we should be focusing on getting more fibre around the UK and getting faster connectivity so we can actually compete. Success isn’t just about rail and roads; most business interactions can take place online without having to lose money and time on travel. Our future is digital, so it stands to reason that we should be investing more in it now.

That’s my reaction to the Autumn Statement, anyway. What did you make of it? Do you believe the Chancellor’s promises or is it all just rhetoric to win your vote?

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