The Chancellor’s first budget has been announced this afternoon. We take a look at the announcement and how it relates to our own budget wishlist.
The Forum welcomes the focus on supporting and helping businesses but this will need to translate into meaningful deliverables for our small business members.
Forum Managing Director, Ian Cass commented, ‘Several of the announcements from Chancellor are in line with the wish list that we set out. In particular, the commitment to accelerate investment on rural broadband connectivity, the investment in infrastructure, long term in the railways and in the shorter term our roads and also addressing the imbalance in the North/South economies, like moving treasury jobs out of London, is well overdue and is something we have been asking for.’
The potential impact of the Covid19 virus on smaller businesses is a further area that the Forum has real concerns about and the relief on Business Rates, as well as the £3,000 cash grant, will go some way to helping, particularly as this also looks to be extended to the pub sector, but more reforms are needed once the current crisis is over.
‘Business Rates are a hugely disproportionate burden on small high street businesses and need to be completely reformed. The immediate relief is of course welcomed and appropriate, but we hope that the Chancellor won’t simply kick the issue back into the long grass once the Covid19 crisis is through.’
Not directly addressing the late payment practices of big business is a big disappointment, and we believe that this will become a bigger issue in the coming weeks and months.
Overall we give the Budget a score of 8/10 as far as business is concerned, with the hope that the Chancellors full-year report will score higher based on actual deliverables.
Ian Cass gives his response to the Budget.