I AM going to start by mentioning that it seems to be spring at last.
It’s my favourite time of the year – time to forget all those worries for a while, enjoy the lighter mornings and evenings, and appreciate all those lovely daffodils that seem to be everywhere at the moment!
Now, I wonder what the reaction of small businesses across our region was to the Budget announcements?
Well, for my part, I liked George Osborne’s opening comments when he announced that the Budget was aimed at the makers, doers and savers of Great Britain.
It’s my opinion that most small business owners don’t expect too much from the Budget. Their main concerns lie with the day-to- day running of their businesses and, therefore, their focus is on issues that affect us all from time to time.
Things like lack of demand for their products, poor profitability, inadequate working capital, late payments of debts. None of these are going to be solved in the Budget.
Help for exporters, as well as tax breaks for those buying equipment, were at the centre of the budget measures. Both measures were targeted at the business community and aim to improve Britain’s sluggish record on selling goods overseas. Good news for everyone.
The planned increase in fuel duty – something close to my own business interests – due next September is reportedly now off the government’s agenda. This will help keep transport costs down, which has a significant knock-on effect for companies of all sizes.
The reduction in beer duty offers some help for our local pubs, a few of which are struggling. Unfortunately for us, some of the best elements of the budget aren’t directly related to small businesses but there are other measures that should make a difference to company owners if used properly.
The freeing of pensions funds, which no longer have to be invested in annuities, is good news for those of us who have been able to save for our old age.
In conclusion, those of us lucky enough to benefit from one of the tax measures announced must take advantage of the opportunities. However, to do so fully may mean that we need to think about the way in which small businesses manage their finances.
More saving and less spending – that’s the message George Osborne gave us at the beginning of his speech. Savers were at the centre of this Budget and I would like to think many of us are makers, doers and savers, operating with a financially cautious approach.
I’m hoping therefore that the Budget brought some good news for many local business people. Perhaps that’s the impact of spring and the wishful thinking it brings!