Caroline Plumb, David Cameron’s business ambassador for the U.K, entrepreneur and co founder of the FreshMinds Group:
SMEs are the lifeblood of the economy – and they need and deserve the support of the Government. From my experience in founding and growing a business, I know that excessive red tape makes it much more difficult to grow and prosper.
A three year moratorium for small businesses on new domestic regulation is great news, as is an increase of 15% in credit to small businesses. Small businesses have suffered immensely over the last few years and giving them breathing space is just what the sector needs. However, whilst this is a positive step, I would have liked to see this extended to enterprises with 50 or even 250 employees. It is important not to forget that medium sized enterprises are a massive source of growth too.
The 21 enterprise zones that will be setup are equally healthy. Fingers crossed we can create another Canary Wharf success story, which was transformed from a virtual wasteland to a financial powerhouse. £200m behind regional railways is also key to the success of these zones. This is a doubly good move as it will allow aid to be given to regions that had previously relied on strong public sector involvement and investment.
All of these measures, combined with the 40,000 funded apprenticeships and the 100,000 places in new work experience schemes makes for very healthy reading.
We provide top level candidates for the most dynamic and fast growing companies in the UK and have seen that a healthy amount of job opportunities combined with skilled candidates is a recipe for success.
The reduction in corporation tax is equally a good thing, though it is slightly disappointing it is not the expected 1%. Profit is obviously key to business success, and anything that can help in this process is welcome indeed.
Encouraging entrepreneurship is vitally important, so the measures for EIS are great. We are finding 25 aspiring entrepreneurs for the New Entrepreneurs Foundation, which gives young people the opportunity to learn from some of our most successful businesspeople including Brent Hoberman and Luke Johnson. For these young people to know that they are backed by the government will help give them the confidence they need to start their own highly successful enterprises.
The government can’t stimulate growth as such, but they can relieve the burdens on those who can and do stimulate growth. This is a series of very sound decisions from the Chancellor, however this is only one positive step in the right direction in difficult circumstances.
William Chase, founder of Chase Distillery and former owner of Tyrrells Potato Chips:
“Was it a good budget for small businesses? The devil is in the detail, but yes it looks encouraging to some degree. Does it go far enough, I guess as an entrepreneur it will never be far enough. Young businesses are our future, both economically and as employers, and they will always be at the core of the UK’s economy. We need to harness and develop entrepreneurial spirit, not suppress it”
“I am happy that Mr Osborne has recognised eventually that small businesses are the innocent victims of the credit crunch. As well as the introduction of export credits, and let’s face it, it is a good time for the UK to export, I would like to see more pressure on the banks to lend to small businesses to enable them to grow. We need a sensible level of support from the banks to enable small businesses and entrepreneurs to focus on what they do best, not to be in a position where they are constantly fighting funding fires.”
“I would welcome and like to see a simplified taxation system. Right now our system is antiquated, borne out of legacy and out of touch with the reality about what is important to survive and then thrive for UK small businesses”.
“All businesses start as small enterprises with entrepreneurial ideas. How do you grow businesses? You fuel the fire. But these days, literally and unfortunately, the fuel required to grow carries a huge tax burden in one form or another.”
Brad Burton, managing director, 4Networking:
After last year’s ‘harsh but fair’ emergency budget, it’s great to see a much more easily digestible statement from George Osborne.
He clearly recognises that business, especially the smaller enterprises, are the key to economic growth and getting this country back to its best. I’m a big fan of his ‘enterprise zones’ and it will be good to see how these work in practice and what opportunities they create.
Corporation tax cuts will always go down well with the business community, and the overall policy of simplification will bring a sigh of relief all round. This will be welcomed by our 40,000 small business-owner members, but they’re under no illusion that they have anyone to rely on but each other.
Charlie Mullins, founder and Managing Director of Pimlico Plumbers:
The Chancellor has responded to the challenges facing the army of entrepreneurs starting and running small and medium sized enterprises who hold the key to growing the economy.
Charlie said: “This was a budget of petrol, potholes and private enterprise that puts small and medium sized businesses at the heart of the recovery.
“It has placed tools in the hands of entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses. Business owners have listen to George Osborne’s starter’s pistol and start the marathon towards private sector-led economic growth.
“Taking the first steps to merging Income Tax and National Insurance demonstrates that red tape can be cut – it may put some of the pencil pushers out of work, but it will keep the rest of us in business.
“Enterprise Zones present a real opportunity to stimulate entrepreneurialism, even in London. Many people believe the streets are paved with gold in the Capital, but it’s just as tough to get a business off the ground in London – especially when you consider the cost of premises.
Charlie added: “For some, the
content of the budget did not give much away. Normally every corner of society has wanted something from the Chancellor– but it’s time to stop being selfish. Of course we are all feeling hard-done by, but it’s not a time for blatant self-interest. It’s about what’s good for the country in the long-run.
“Wanting a big helping of cake and eating it is exactly what got the country into this financial mess. The time for grabbing all you can and fighting to keep it at the expense of the rest of society is over.”