Budget 2014: 12 things Osborne MUST include

Entrepreneurs share their views

George Osborne has a lot riding on Budget 2014. It’s the last Budget in which he can really make an impact as Budget 2015 will be too close to the General Elections in May.

However, the Chancellor may find it hard to impress the taxpayer with this year’s Budget. Last month, he admitted that this year’s Budget would outline “hard truths” about Britain’s economic recovery.

“This is not a Budget where we can rest on our laurels and say ‘job done’,” the Chancellor told the British Chambers of Commerce.

So what announcements should the Chancellor’s red tatty box contain? We asked London entrepreneurs:

Lisa Gagliani, CEO, Bright Ideas Trust: “Address unemployment, training and enterprise”

“I believe it is essential that George Osborne addresses unemployment, training and enterprise in his Budget announcement. Creating and nurturing long-term career prospects should be made a priority, along with tax breaks, to encourage companies to hire and train those in unemployment, as well as seeing continued and increased support for The Start Up Loan Scheme, which is making a huge impact for Bright Ideas Trust in terms of the number of young people we can support, mentor and fund. Furthermore, I believe we need to see increased tax relief to encourage more investment in entrepreneurs to help the UK on the road to economic recovery.”

Amit Bhatia, chairman, Hope Construction Materials: “Cut down on rising regulatory costs on manufacturing”

“I’m a firm believer in British manufacturing and think the government should seek to stimulate demand in the economy to allow UK firms to do what they do best – make things, innovate, invest and develop.

“Suppliers to the construction industry have been hit by a range of tough and rising regulatory costs which if continued will hinder essential production. Instead we need policies which ensure steady, sustainable growth, allowing us to invest in both plants and people in the long term, increase economic output and reduce unemployment.”

Charlie Mullins, CEO, Pimlico Plumbers:  “Cut duty on diesel fuel”

“I’d encourage the Chancellor to introduce a targeted cut to the duty on diesel fuel to boost British industry. It literally is the fuel that drives UK business and the blood that pumps through the veins of the country’s infrastructure. 

“Apart from Italy, we pay the highest price for diesel in Europe, which has a direct impact on every business operating commercial vehicles, not to mention every family buying groceries or breadwinner taking the bus to work.  Taking a slither of tax off diesel would pay dividends for the government as it would benefit from increased productivity and therefore higher tax receipts.”

Mark Payton, MD, Mercia Fund Management: “Increase SEIS investment limit to £250,000 per investee”

“We expect the Chancellor to make a commitment in this budget to continue with SEIS and EIS providing SMEs with investment capital for growth. The Chancellor should demonstrate a desire to improve SEIS by seeking to increase its investment limit from £150,000 per investee to £250,000. This would make a strong message to the next generation of entrepreneurs within the UK.”

Giles Palmer, CEO of Brandwatch, a social media monitoring firm: “More R&D tax credits relief

“I would like to see the Chancellor increasing the entrepreneur’s relief limit to encourage companies that are doing well to really push the boundaries and think big without having to worrying about the tax implications.

“Innovation, and the ability to get back up if things don’t quite work is vital so we absolutely need to maintain the R&D tax credits relief but also increase the grants we offer to the technology and creative industries. We have to find a way to incentivise local government to encourage high growth, tech-oriented companies.”

Paul Miller, managing partner of Calfordseaden LLP, a property & construction consultancy: “SMEs that invest in employee training must be rewarded”

“The Budget is the perfect time for the Chancellor to reward business owners who invest in professional training for their staff with relaxed tax measures. Traditionally, when times are tough, training and development is one of the first areas to take a cut. However this is actually a short-sighted move and thoughts must be given to the longevity of a business and its employees.

“I believe that more employers in construction are starting to recognise that nurturing your own talent unearths much needed skills and agility to meet the demands of our ever-growing and changing industry.”

Drew Thomson, Group CEO of Starcount, the fan science company: “Create tax relief on basis of number of jobs a company creates”

“I’d like to see the Chancellor bring in more dynamic tax relief for entrepreneurs, tax relief tied not to the company’s value but the number of jobs it creates. It’s also worth pointing out that, as tax incentives stand, small business owners are being actively incentivised to hold onto their equity. What the tax code should be doing is encouraging entrepreneurs to share equity with employees.”

Adam Landau, founder, DeVono Property: “Offer nationwide free parking to help the high street”

“By putting a realistic investment budgets into councils we should be offering nationwide free parking in town centres, and have significant incentives in place to start filling up the high street with business that will succeed.  We have evidence, from its success in London, that it’s the leisure market which will revive the fortunes of the high street.  

“Think restaurants, food businesses, sporting centres and related lifestyle businesses. Not only will this enable high streets to become the social hubs they once were, it will create employment, act as way to get people healthier and improve the desirability of our cities and towns.”

Richard Acreman, CEO of technology services company WM360: “Encourage larger employers to pay their employees on time”

“I hope George Osborne puts more substance behind the Prompt Payments Code to encourage larger businesses to pay their suppliers on time. It was recently revealed that companies in the UK owe their suppliers £55bn; this is money which funds not only growth, but innovation.”

Anne Cantelo, Founder and MD of Onyx, a communications agency: “Tackle property distortions or businesses will be forced to move out of London”

“The biggest threat to businesses in London is that employees can no longer afford to live here because of the distortion of the housing market by overseas investors. The cost of housing is driving up salaries and increasing the need for long, expensive, commutes.  I hope that George Osborne introduces measures to prevent this damaging market distortion before London businesses are forced to move out too.”

Simon Hill, MD of idea management firm Wazoku: “There needs to be a vision for enterprise and innovation”

“This is one of George Osborne’s remaining opportunities to show he actually has a vision for UK enterprise and innovation. Now is the time to make a commitment to supporting enterprise and leave a real enterprise legacy. This could be tax incentives on equity finance or NI relief for start-ups, anything to show this government is serious about innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Philippe Gelis, CEO and co-founder Kantox: “Encourage more businesses to export”

“The Government has set ambitious targets for exports by 2020, but currently SMEs are deterred by the ludicrous banks fees involved with making customer and supplier transactions overseas. The government’s export targets will only be within the grasp of SMEs if Osborne addresses the FX battle facing small businesses in the upcoming Budget.”

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