As the dust starts to settle after yesterday’s flurry of Budget announcements, it’s time to take stock and ask: does Budget 2011 work for small business?
Yesterday’s Budget speech from Chancellor George Osborne was much awaited and widely watched by the small business community.
Labelled pro-growth and pro-enterprise, was it worth the wait? Yes. And then some.
While the UK economy is not yet out of the woods – growth forecast for 2011 has been downgraded from 2.1% to 1.7% – it does seem to be (slowly) on its way, helped by a number of measures to further encourage established SMEs and up and coming start-ups.
Plans to seriously simplify the tax system and reduce red tape – top of most small business’s wish list – were a key feature. From consultation on proposals to merge income tax and National Insurance, to the scrapping of 43 tax reliefs and no new regulations for the next three years for companies with fewer than ten staff.
Reducing corporation tax by 2% instead of 1% this coming April is also a welcome move, as is another year’s extension to the business rate relief holiday for small companies.
The setting up of 21 enterprise zones around the country backed by tax incentives provides the perfect springboard for budding entrepreneurs.
And while VAT on fuel will not be reduced, the fact that fuel duty has now been cut by a penny per litre is something to celebrate particularly as there is a freeze on alcohol duty. We’ll drink to that!