Autumn Budget 2018: Here’s what Yorkshire business leaders want to see
Chancellor Philip Hammond’s latest Autumn Budget is almost here. On Monday afternoon, we’ll get an insight into how the Government plans to collect and spend our taxes over the next financial year.
With Brexit right around the corner and the government committed to somehow raising an extra £20bn for the NHS over the next five years, business leaders are going to be watching closely.
At Bdaily, we asked Yorkshire business leaders what they want to see in Mr Hammond’s Budget. Here’s what they had to say:
On supporting SMEs
Andy Slee, chairman of The Black Sheep Brewery
“It is imperative that the Chancellor introduces measures to support businesses and encourage investment ahead of a post-Brexit world.
“The continued disproportionate tax burdens imposed on SMEs is another area that needs to be addressed. SMEs are the very lifeblood of the economy and are the firms paying for the financial loopholes enjoyed by multinationals.
“Last year, The Black Sheep Brewery contributed four and half times more to the exchequer in beer duty than eBay paid in corporation tax, which is wholly unacceptable and highlights the unjust taxation system for mid-market companies.
“This playing field must be leveled and the Budget is an opportunity for the Chancellor to send a reassuring message to businesses during uncertain economic times.”
Tim Mills, Investment Director of the British Business Bank’s Angel CoFund
“Having to balance on a political tightrope between the declared end of austerity and safeguarding the UK financially for any adverse consequences of Brexit – the Chancellor is going to have to do some creative thinking for this year’s Budget.
“However, from a business perspective, my hope is that he recognises the vital role that scale-ups and entrepreneurs have in future proofing and creating growth in UK economy - and resists the temptation to unsettle these businesses with tax changes. A strong, positive message that the UK is an attractive environment for high-potential businesses will be especially important in the wake of macroeconomic uncertainty.
“To this end, the Budget should preserve the reliefs that are already in place to incentivise – R&D tax relief, entrepreneurs’ relief, and the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) – and avoid adding any unnecessary administrative burden onto fledgling businesses.
“It’s easy to underestimate the importance of keeping things simple for companies. For a small businesses, with limited human resource and making their budgets go as far as they can, administrative burden has the potential to be just as damaging as direct taxation. My hope is the Chancellor opts to make the UK an attractive market for growth by keeping things simple.”
Ian Dowd, chief marketing officer at software company SSG Insight
“With Brexit negotiations looming there are many issues playing on the mind of British businesses, and leaders will be looking to the Budget to provide some clarity in these uncertain times. Whilst it will be crucial to approach the coming year with a positive economic outlook, directors also need to be proactive in future-proofing their businesses.
“We have recently carried out research amongst leading manufacturing executives, looking at the optimism and concern around two of the most critical challenges currently facing modern Britain: Brexit and the relentless rise of technology. We found that 83% of British manufacturers are actively forging new relationships with Rest of World territories in readiness for the UK’s departure from the EU.
“Whilst the chancellor may wish to maintain a financial buffer to soften any Brexit transition shocks, the enduring digital skills shortage also needs addressing. Our research has found that there remains a lack of intent to upskill the existing workforce, despite businesses investing in technology to support growth strategies for the post-Brexit era.”
On the Northern Powerhouse
Pennie Hudson Ward, CEO of orthodontic laboratory ArchformByte
“As a business manufacturing orthodontic products in Sheffield, I would like to see the Chancellor address spending in the North in his upcoming budget. Despite the Northern Powerhouse’s efforts to close the gap between London and the Northern region, there are still discrepancies when it comes to pay, technology, jobs and infrastructure.
“The North of England has the potential to be the leader in the field of exporting, manufacturing and technology, but without the provision of superfast broadband and efficient transport, we will end of stuck in the past.
“If our people, businesses and region are to thrive in the uncertain times that lie ahead, we need to see evidence of the Government investing in all of these fields, while championing the manufacturing industry that the North of England is famous for.”
On Transport and Infrastructure
Sam Dewar, planning manager and director at DPA Planning Ltd
“Councils have experienced swingeing cuts since the last recession, so the possibility of further draconian measures, which could put services on the brink, is extremely worrying.
“Planning invariably gets hit - and hit hard. So, a Budget that supports strengthens local authority planning and provides the resources needed to deliver 300,000 new homes and drives growth, must be welcomed.
“Certainly, stabilisation should be high on the Chancellor’s agenda, which will need to be backed-up with more investment and spending targeted specifically at planning departments to help them deliver the houses this country needs.
“Previous schemes, such as the ‘stalled sites fund’, has worked well where implemented, so there’s a blueprint there for similar initiatives in the future, if housebuilding in this country is to move forward to better times and stronger economic growth.”
David Brennan, CEO of mobility provider Nexus Vehicle Rental
“According to the thinktank IPPR North, over the last ten years Londoners have enjoyed an annual average transport spend of £708 per person, while those in the North of England received just £289.
“This is hard to swallow for many, exasperated by frequent delays in their daily commute and there needs to be a holistic strategy for connecting people with alternative forms of mobility.
“Sheffield Mayor Dan Jarvis has already penned a letter to the Chancellor asking for £30m of assistance to improve train links between the city and Manchester, as well as to help renew a Supertram and railway line to Doncaster Sheffield Airport. This is just one example of how Yorkshire is crying out for transport investment.”