The Great Debate UK

The budget must help SMEs to survive and grow

Bobby Lane 4By Bobby Lane, Partner at Shelley Stock Hutter LLP. The opinions expressed are his own.

Everyone in my practice, and no doubt anyone advising the five million UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), welcomed the Prime Minister’s latest show of support for them at the recent Conservative Party conference.

Yet this “power to SMEs” speech is something we have heard from politicians on all sides of the house in the past. In 2009 when discussing the pre-budget report, Alistair Darling talked about providing “real help when businesses need it most” and “better access to credit”. We are now in 2011, and my clients will confirm they are still waiting.

Declaring war on the “enemies of enterprise” and being on the side of “go-getters” may be rousing rhetoric from our current government. However, my concern is that we have heard it all before and the time for talking has long passed.

A budget for Growth?

Thomas Story_NSP8121By Thomas Story, Tax Director, BDO LLP. The opinions expressed are his own.

George Osborne has promised that measures to boost sustainable growth will be central to this week’s Budget. To meet this objective, the Chancellor faces the challenge of accelerating the reform of business taxation within the severe constraints imposed by the overall fiscal position and the political imperatives of the coalition government.

Many previous reforming Chancellors have benefited from a more benign fiscal outlook to facilitate fundamental fiscal reform (Nigel Lawson and Gordon Brown spring to mind). The daunting fiscal deficit means that any tax reforms must be achieved within a tax neutral framework; Geoffrey Howe’s Budgets in the early 1980s are a closer precedent but the need to accommodate both parties to the coalition agreement provides additional dilemmas in 2011.

Budget will force ‘squeezed middle’ to muddle through

By John Evans, CEO of The opinions expressed are his own.

It’s a cold November morning last year, and in the Today programme studio Ed Miliband sits across the desk from John Humphrys.

John: “So Mr Miliband, can you tell us exactly what you mean by the ‘squeezed middle’?”

Importers and exporters lack confidence in recovery



-David Sear is the global managing director at Travelex Global Business Payments. The opinions expressed are his own.-

Despite the UK officially emerging out of recession in the first quarter of 2010, the confidence of importers and exporters in a sustained recovery remains extremely volatile.

Thinking outside the budget-shaped box



- Dave Coplin is national technology editor at Microsoft UK. The opinions expressed are his own.-

The emergency budget was announced recently as a means to tackle the country’s deficit and Britain’s current economic situation.

VAT rise – is it really that bad?



Rachel Mason is public relations manager at Fair Investment Company. The opinions expressed are her own.-

So the new coalition government is putting VAT up from 17.5 percent to 20 percent on January 4 2011 and the country is up in arms, but is it really that bad?

Osborne’s book-balancing a risky venture



-Tony Cleaver is senior teaching fellow in Economics and Finance in the Durham University School of Economics, Finance and Business. The opinions expressed are his own.-

George Osborne is taking a risk.

The Chancellor is also placing himself firmly in the orthodox school of financiers who assert that governments must balance their own books even in times of recession.

Osborne’s budget is “stupid” and “unfair”



- David Byrne is a professor at the School of Applied Social Sciences, Durham University. The opinions expressed are his own. -

Reuters’ guest blogger Laurence Copeland omitted two words in his description of Tuesday’s budget – the words being ‘stupid’ and ‘unfair’.

Osborne unveils a momentous project



-Laurence Copeland is a professor of finance at Cardiff University Business School. The opinions expressed are his own.

We were promised a Budget that would be a game-changer, and that’s exactly what we got today – ambitious, dramatic, and presented with conviction and confidence (as it needed to be).
The Chancellor had four objectives in view:

Pound recovers as Osborne outlines fiscal plans



- Mark Bolsom is head of the UK Trading Desk at Travelex Global Business Payments. The opinions expressed are his own. -

As widely expected, Chancellor George Osborne took a tough stance in his first budget and unveiled some “unavoidable” cuts and taxes.