Autumn Statement 2015: Entrepreneurs have their say

"The builders of the future"; the government today revealed its plans for the economy in the Autumn Statement. Here's how entrepreneurs have reacted

Chancellor George Osborne today presented the government’s vision for the economy over the coming year in its mission to become “builders of a better future”.

From extensions of small business rate relief to a £400m investment fund for the North, the 2015 Autumn Statement will be largely welcomed by business owners with the rumoured cuts to entrepreneurs relief remaining just that; a rumour.

Here’s what entrepreneurs had to say on Osborne’s Autumn Statement…

“The North isn’t a powerhouse… yet”

James Blake, CEO of tech start-up Hello Soda, has commented on the goverment’s plans to invest in businesses in the North and believes there is still a long way to go:

“Since it was branded the ‘Northern Powerhouse’, the North of England has seen significant successes. We need to build on the momentum behind the region’s success to date, underpinning it with strong foundations and take action to mitigate the negativity. The north needs to be more accessible to networks in London and major hubs across the UK to leverage new business opportunities.

“The chancellor is handing the baton over to local councils to reduce or raise business rates and if raised the money must be used to fund infrastructure that benefits the business community. It will be interesting to see how this comes out in the wash. Addressing transport links or providing support for travel costs would have a significant benefit if it is balanced correctly with costs businesses have to pay.

“For the north to truly become a powerhouse, we need to embrace new industries and stop trying to reinvent the old. The powerhouse of the industrial revolution needs to rise again and became a home to the digital revolution.”

“Extensions to Small Business Rate Relief is a good thing”

Vincent McLoughlin, partner at Russell New, is pleased that the chancellor has extended Small Business Rate Relief to April 2017:

“The relief helps all the small and medium enterprise owners who have built up their businesses, contributed substantially to the economy with tax payments, and supplied employers national insurance contributions. We must celebrate the country’s entrepreneurs, not punish them for their success. Businesses are already exposed to sudden shifts in tax policies. They have plenty of other risks to navigate. Limiting Entrepreneurs’ Relief would have risked punishing those it is intended to reward.

“Whilst we are happy to see  moves to safeguard the relief from abuse, business owners  have, for so long, built up their businesses in the knowledge that that they would not be heavily penalised when they reach the time to sell or pass on a successful business.”

“The Apprentice Levy is an additional tax on employment”

Neal Todd, partner of law firm BLP, thinks the government is missguided in its plans to introduce an Apprenticeship Levy:

“It is disappointing to see the government introducing an additional levy on employment when it should be continuing to encourage businesses to come to this country and to employ people in the UK.

“Relatively small additional taxes are not necessarily a problem. However, it indicates the wrong direction of travel for taxes. Coupled with the continued rhetoric on avoidance, multinationals may well question whether the UK will remain a tax friendly environment in the years to come.”

“More should be done to support the sharing economy”

Debbie Woskow, founder and CEO of LoveHomeSwap and chair of SEUK, says the chancellor missed a key opportunity to drive growth of the UK’s sharing economy:

“I am disappointed today that more hasn’t been done to support the individuals who want to supplement their income by renting out spare rooms, unused storage or space in their driveways. A sharing economy tax relief would encourage individuals to unlock previously unused or under-used assets, helping these microentrepreneurs to make and save money. What’s more, changes from the government on this matter would be a bold statement that the UK is leading the charge globally in best harnessing the sharing economy.”

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