A “budget that backs business”? Entrepreneurs react to the Budget 2016

There's talk that the chancellor sought to 'woo' businesses in today's budget report. Has he? We spoke to UK small business owners to find out...

The chancellor unveiled the 2016 budget report today and outlined a number of major business policies including tax cuts and changes to business rates; with several of these announcements having featured on entrepreneur ‘wish lists’.

Dubbed “a budget to back business”, we’ve rounded up responses from UK entrepreneurs and small business owners to find out whether they’re happy with the new measures and whether Osborne could have gone further…

Yes to changes to corporation tax and small business rate reform

Jim Duffy, CEO of Entrepreneurial Spark: 

“Reducing corporation tax to 17% by 2020 will have a transformational effect on start-ups and scale-ups, allowing ambitious entrepreneurs to reinvest more profits and create new jobs. Additional small business relief will ensure more small businesses pay no rates at all, which is to be applauded as we encourage people to start their own businesses and create wealth.

Yes to Osborne’s new tax allowances

Debbie Wosskow, founding chair of Sharing Economy UK (SEUK) and founder of Love Home Swap:

“This is a colossal win for Britain. We are the first in the world to introduce a sharing economy allowance that allows individuals to earn up to £2,000 tax free. This demonstrates the UK truly is the home of the sharing economy and leading the global stage in this space.

“65% of those participating in the sharing economy are female. This move brings us a step closer to empowering these women and other micro-entrepreneurs to live and work in a flexible way.”

Aaron Dicks, co-founder of Impression:

“There was plenty in there for start-ups and digital entrepreneurs so that’s definitely good news. His “tax break for the digital age”, giving new tax free allowances to so-called ‘micro-entrepreneurs’, will hopefully encourage more people to start taking advantage of the huge opportunities available to them through online and e-commerce businesses.”

Yes to growth of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’

Ed Relf, CEO and co-founder of Laundrapp:

“Projects to support innovation across Britain, not just in London, are essential. If the Northern Powerhouse is to become a reality, start-ups must receive assistance to establish local innovation zones. Young people must also be encouraged to consider careers in start-ups. If this budget is to truly put the next generation first, encouraging entrepreneurialism and creativity is key.”

Yes to the extension of Entrepreneurs Relief

Alex Macpherson, head of Octopus Ventures:

“It is an exciting time for British high growth small businesses – we have great people, a supportive community, access to funding and plenty of innovative ideas, making this an incredibly fertile place to grow outstanding businesses. With this in mind, UK entrepreneurs will welcome the chancellor recognising this ambition and entrepreneurial appetite, rewarding those who choose to sell their business by […] extending Entrepreneur’s Relief.

“Already in 2016, we have seen two Octopus portfolio business exits, with Microsoft buying SwiftKey, and Essilor purchasing Vision Direct. We are witnessing exciting developments in the UK’s entrepreneurial market and it’s great to see this government recognising this.”

No to the exclusion of small business funding in the budget

Rich Wagner, CEO and founder of Advanced Payment Solutions: 

“I was disappointed to see that the fundamental issue of access to basic banking services was not discussed. This is a severe problem and it is worrying that it wasn’t addressed by Osborne. Whilst it is promising to see that business rates were discussed to help those small and medium enterprises already up and running, the government need to help the UK’s small businesses that are held back from even reaching this stage.”

James Sherwin-Smith, CEO of Growth Street:

“The chancellor neglect[ed] to address the biggest challenge faced by the UK small and medium-sized enterprises: funding.

“The chancellor is doing nothing to address the unfair, unregulated small business finance market, which is stifling small business growth in the UK. At present, commercial finance falls outside the scope of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and is unregulated, meaning there is no requirement for providers to disclose the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) on any commercial finance product. Our recommendation is a positive and implementable step to improve the small and medium enterprise finance market in the UK; we are calling for the Chancellor to show his support for small businesses and act.”

No to Brexit questions unanswered

Martin Campbell, managing director of Ormsby Street:

“As a firm believer in Britain’s membership of the EU – and managing director of a company where 25% of the staff are from other EU countries – I was pleased to see George Osborne mention the Office for Budget Responsibility’s report that stated that Brexit would lead to ‘disruptive uncertainty’. I would have liked to have seen more on this though.

“A Brexit will be one of the most significant events to ever impact the UK economy and the effect on the technology sector could be truly profound, from the ability to hire people with the best skillset to the potential downsizing of the most natural market for UK tech. So where was the clear and considered rationale to stay? And where was any reference to a contingency plan should it go ahead?”

Are you happy with Osborne’s 2016 budget? Share your views in the comment box below or Tweet us at @startupstowers


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