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Budget 2016: A Budget for the next generation – but what about now?



Earlier today I went to North West Business Insider’s Budget Live event at Lancashire Country Cricket Club where a panel of speakers (Tim Potter, chief executive HURST; Nicky Unsworth, chief executive of BJL Group; Vikas Shah, managing director of Swiscot Group; Lawrence Jones, chief executive of UKFast; Dr Kevin Albertson, Reader in Economics at MMU Business School; and John Keyes, partner and head of the Manchester office of Cushman & Wakefield) discussed their thoughts and hopes for this year’s Budget before we all watched the action unfold on screen.

 

After a lively introduction from George Osborne (which included him quoting the Office for Budget Responsibility that the UK would be “safer, stronger, and more secure” if we stayed in the EU), the chancellor got into the details of cuts and spending.

 

One of the key phrases Osborne kept repeating was how this was a Budget “for the next generation”. A levy on sugar for the soft drink industry which will be invested into funding for sports in schools, a proposal that pupils study maths up to 18 and the introduction of a lifetime ISA were some of the measures Osborne discussed.

 

However, in order to achieve his promise that the Government will be running a surplus by 2019/20, he announced that further cuts would have to be made to achieve this. While the idea of “living within our means” was justified by making sure we protect the next generation and ensure they don’t have to pay for our debts, it does beg the question – what about the generation of today?

 

Some other notable announcements included:

·        Corporation tax is to decrease to 17% by 2020

·        Around 600,000 commercial properties will be removed from business rates, while annual increases to business rates will rise in line with the Retail Price Index rather than the Consumer Price Index

·        Fuel duty will remain frozen for a sixth year running

·        The tax-free personal allowance will increase to £11,500 by April 2017 and the threshold for paying higher rate income tax rate will  move to £45,000

·        The HS3 link between Manchester and Leeds has been given the go ahead, as well as investment to upgrade the M62 to a four-lane motorway and a tunnel road through to Manchester and Sheffield

 

Once Osborne finished his announcements, the panel at the event discussed their reactions. While there were some pleasant surprises (for example, more support and tax breaks for small businesses) there was uncertainty around what the real impact of the announcements will be for consumers and businesses.

 

Perhaps more importantly, there was uncertainty around the issues that Osbourne didn’t go into – in particular, healthcare was a sector notably missing from the agenda. And as always, we failed to get in to the nitty gritty detail of exactly how plans and initiatives – such as the Northern Powerhouse – will be achieved…and just how long those transport and infrastructure improvements will take in and around Manchester!

 

How do you think today’s Budget will affect you and your business? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

 

 

Tagged with: Budget 2016, Manchester, Networking Event, North West , North West Business Insider event, NWBI event, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West