16 March 2016

Are you happy with Osborne’s budget?

It’s fair to say that it is a reasonably strong budget for business, perhaps less so for consumer confidence.5474168441_70b2f46944_z

I watched the budget announcement at NW Business Insider’s Budget Live, along with a panel of Manchester’s top business leaders. Nicky Unsworth, chief exec at BJL summed the budget up well, describing the necessity for consumer confidence to back up any decisions made to help businesses within the budget.

From a selfish perspective I had hoped to see an increase the entrepreneurs’ relief, encouraging the sale of businesses and keeping entrepreneurs in the country. This is important as it encourages entrepreneurs to sell their business on at the right time, allowing the businesses to scale up with new investment and further boost the economy.

I’d like to ideally see a fairer corporate tax system – perhaps a turnover tax but, for now, I welcome the changes in tax evasion, avoidance and scheme used by multinationals are a very positive step – but only if they can catch them out, they have some very clever accountants. It would be nice to see a change in the way that we do tax.

We need to see more initiatives to improve innovation put into place – this fuels growth in technology. The tech world is in touch with every part of every business’s so it affects us all. There used to tax relief when buying new technology which helps businesses stay ahead of the curve and move into the digital age. For some reason this was scrapped. I’d welcome more measures like this help businesses to grow in the modern world.

I like that the budget was focussed on efficiency. It is, of course, nice to be debt free if you can be. Reducing debt for me is massive.

The reduction of supplementary tax on gas and oil is clearly to win a few friends in Scotland, where the Tories have been less than popular lately.

I can’t help but think that the business Stamp Duty is an increase dressed as a saving. Do we have properties that come under the threshold for the tax-free bracket anymore?

I noted that George Osborne steered clear from the NHS and little about health was discussed, even less about mental health.

The Lifetime ISA is an incredible incentive for people to save. A return of £1 for every £4 saved is extraordinary – that’s £1,000 for every £4,000. I hope that this isn’t just a gimmick and it gives young people the opportunity to save for both their first home and their future.

The government’s promises of infrastructure improvements are too shrouded in rhetoric. We will be discussing HS22 before HS2 has come to fruition, or even begun to be built!

As for the Northern Powerhouse, I have long said that the government is piggybacking off the success that the region has already achieved without interference from the government. We need to see tangible changes, for a start Northerners should be able to govern any money up here. It is still, very clearly, run from Whitehall. The term Northern Powerhouse is an umbrella to make it sounds better than it is. It’s really investment that we would expect anyway.

Overall, it is a budget, as Osborne says, to make Britain fit for the future, but I would have liked to have seen more for the Britain of now.

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