Dear Mr Osborne... Herts experts spell out what they want to come out of the budget box next week

George Osborne

George Osborne - Credit: Archant

A Herts business expert has spelled out what small and medium-sized firms will be hoping Chancellor George Osborne produces from his budget box next week.

The Chancellor will be presenting his latest round of financial carrots and cuts on Wednesday, and Dave Simpson – head of KPMG Enterprise – said: “What local businesses owners will want to see from the Chancellor is a budget which will incentivise business, promote capital investment and reduce their tax compliance burden.

“The government has a perfect opportunity to set out its stall when it comes to taxation and we’re hopeful that the promise of a business tax roadmap will come to fruition this time round.

“In 2010, businesses across all sectors welcomed the introduction of a corporate tax roadmap, as not only did it confirm the Government’s direction of travel, it helped organisations to plan for the future. There’s no denying that businesses need further stability and a long-term plan would certainly be welcomed by many.

“Small and medium sized businesses are facing a series of challenges, which could ultimately drive up costs and increase administrative duties.

“Research by KPMG Small Business Accounting found that over a third of small businesses owners spend more than one day every week tackling financial administration, so the introduction of the National Living Wage next month, pension auto-enrolment and a business rates system which many believe is in need of reform combined with the prospect of compulsory quarterly digital tax reporting, will do little to reduce the time taken to complete the volumes of administration that goes hand in hand with running your own business.

“Having recently received the Baroness Mone review Boosting Enterprise In More Deprived Communities, which looks at how the government can help start-ups in the most disadvantaged communities across the country, it would not be surprising to see the Chancellor make some announcements designed to improve access to start-up loans and strengthen the quality of New Enterprise Allowance support to achieve stronger and more viable businesses.

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“Other key announcements that SMEs will be looking to the Chancellor to address will include some relaxation of the rules around digital reporting, which should be looked at in parallel with tax simplification, measures to help more businesses easily access faster digital networks, more investment in road networks and importantly much needed changes to an outdated business rates system.

“One thing’s for sure, Mr Osborne has proved in the past that he’s adept at pulling rabbits out of hats and we would be naïve not to expect any surprises on the day.

“In a move to please voters ahead of the impending referendum, we may see changes to the personal allowance and higher rate threshold with the Chancellor potentially reducing the additional rate of tax from 45 per cent, perhaps back to 40 per cent. This would be a radical move, and – while unlikely – all bets are on for what we might see introduced on Wednesday.

“Ultimately business owners will want to see that the Chancellor is not just delivering on the promises that he has already made to overhaul the business rates regime and simplify tax, but importantly that he doesn’t announce any major new initiatives that could drive up costs and burdens for SME businesses.”

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