8 July 2015

From 12:30pm today, many of us will be watching the first Conservative Budget. I know plenty of SMEs and fellow entrepreneurs who will be especially interested to hear what George Osborne has to say. While each of us will have a slightly different wish list, there are some common themes, often revolving around simplification, increasing productivity and making our economy stronger to create the optimum environment for new business growth.

Photo credit: Conservatives

Photo credit: Conservatives

Here’s what I’d like to see from tomorrow’s Budget, in an ideal world:

A higher minimum wage – I don’t always agree with Boris Johnson, but we are on the same page when it comes to encouraging businesses to pay the living wage. Raising the personal allowance is a step in the right direction, helping those on lower pay to keep more of their money, but I simply don’t understand why, as the owner of a company, you would want to pay your team the bare minimum? This makes no long term sense, as it doesn’t inspire loyalty and it definitely doesn’t make people feel valued. Personally, I’d like to see more firms adopt the living wage.

A ‘Work Perk’ tax break – The government could make things a lot easier for British businesses that are trying to increase employee wellbeing and productivity by introducing some kind of tax relief for employee engagement. Politicians are happy to bemoan low productivity, but if they incentivised businesses to invest in rewarding, engaging and inspiring their employees, we would see huge benefits across the board.

We reward our team at UKFast with free drinks on Fridays, and last week we created a beach in the car park and laid on a BBQ to thank everyone for a great week, but there’s a huge cost involved in these kinds of things and we pay tax on that. Increasing wellbeing at work is a direct line to higher productivity and fewer days lost due to things like stress and fatigue, but there currently isn’t any real tax incentive for businesses to do this.

Changes to Inheritance Tax – If you are lucky to leave this place with more than you arrived with and if you’ve been paying your way throughout your life, it seems unfair, especially if you’ve seen the value of your home soar since buying it however many years ago. In the south in particular this is a huge concern for people.

I’m all for contributing, but you’re taxed throughout your entire working life. Do you really need to be taxed when you’re dead? Imagine a world where pensioners and retired folk are able to leave their hard earned savings to their grandchildren and families, setting up the next generations to succeed. Now this is a Britain I’d be proud to serve.

What are your hopes and concerns about today’s Budget? Are you feeling positive about Britain’s future?

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