While not offering much in the way of business goodies, George Osborne’s speech offered some festive cheer.
As with most Budget and Autumn Statements, we had to wait until the end of George Osborne’s speech to find out what he was introducing for businesses.
Having sifted through the OBR forecasts, welfare changes and occasional heckle, Osborne eventually moved to business and left me feeling a little disappointed.
It was an Autumn Statement with un unprecedented amount of leaks: including the business rate cap, abolition of physical car tax discs and freeze on fuel duty rises.
But there was a part of me which was hoping he’d deliberately held back a few nuggets to whet our appetite and get us waxing lyrical about how pro-business the coalition was.
However, starting with the statement that it was going to be a fiscally neutral Autumn Statement meant we were never really going to get any game-changing policy shifts.
The small business operators out there will have been relieved to see a less than predicted rise in business rates and extension to the relief system that is currently in operation.
They will also look upon the removal of national insurance payments for under 21s as a possible stimulation for hiring.
But businesses on the next bracket up on the evolution scale will have been felt a little short changed by Osborne and the government. Previous addresses have included great developments such as EIS and SEIS, Funding for Lending developments, boost to employee ownership sector and tax relief for business owners looking to sell their company.
More on the Autumn Statement 2013:
- Entrepreneur and business owner wish list
- Business rates capped at 2 per cent to aid SMEs
- Government announces ‘big extension’ to Start Up Loans scheme
- Jobs tax on staff under 21 abolished
- Vince Cable’s business bank gets an extra £250 million
There is always less to get excited about when it comes to the Autumn Statement over the Budget speech in March. It often serves as a consolidation play where new growth forecasts are rolled out and the government, increasingly, gets an opportunity to rail against the opposition for actually coming good on what it said previously.
The coming year is going to be a big one for businesses in the UK. The much promised business bank will begin serious lending and the continued push to increase exporting by British firms should start to really bare fruit.
So, despite not having a whole lot to cheer about in the festive season, let’s get behind our entrepreneurs and business leaders to continue the strong movement that has apparently made us the fastest growing major advanced economy.