Siobhan Benita discusses what the Budget means for businessesFriday 10 Jul 2015
On Wednesday, George Osborne delivered the first Conservative budget in nearly 20 years. The website, The Conversation, gathered live expert reaction to the budget from academics in a variety of fields from a number of universities.
Siobhan Benita, the Department’s Chief Policy and Strategy Officer, provided her expert view on the budget with regards to business:
This budget was always going to cover more than just austerity measures – as central as these are to the chancellor’s pledge of reaching a budget surplus in this parliament. Given the UK’s so called “productivity puzzle” this budget also needed to address how this government will support businesses, stimulate economic growth and increase productivity.
At first sight, it appears that Osborne has gone some way to addressing these, but probably not as far as the business community would like. The cut in corporation tax to 19% in 2017 and 18% in 2020 will certainly be welcomed by business owners, as will the increase in National Insurance employment allowance for small firms by 50% to £3,000 from 2016.
Less welcome perhaps will be the introduction of a national “Living Wage”, a policy which some companies will undoubtedly find challenging. And many business organisations have also reacted with some concern to the chancellor’s proposals for an apprenticeships levy – more detail will need to be provided on this to waylay their concerns.
Overall, Osborne’s offering to business is a mixed one. I suspect the response from business will be lukewarm.
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