Value for money is vital in 2010

AS the year draws to an end I wonder how many people will look back at 2009 fondly or, perhaps more importantly, toward 2010 with anticipation. We already know that VAT will rise in the New Year as will employers National Insurance contributions. We als

AS the year draws to an end I wonder how many people will look back at 2009 fondly or, perhaps more importantly, toward 2010 with anticipation.

We already know that VAT will rise in the New Year as will employers' National Insurance contributions. We also know that sometime between now and June there will be a General Election and, as someone once said, "whoever wins you still end up with a government". The fact is, that despite us probably returning to statistical growth, the economic climate in 2010 is not going to feel very much better.

We know that, whoever is in power going forward, there will be swingeing cuts in public spending and inevitably this will impact on the economy generally. We hope that whoever they are they recognise that business needs to be cut some slack and that taxation that either impacts on its success, or the cost of employing people, is not going to be helpful.

Right, that's got the gloomy bit out of the way, let's try and put a positive spin on this. The fact is that, despite everything that has been thrown at them, most businesses have survived and many are starting to see some improvement in performance. Indeed, some are beginning to speak very positively about their prospects going forward, nothing must be done to undermine them.


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In providing support Government needs to move away from the numbers game and towards that which provides value for money; that which increases profitability and supports job creation. It is not the only reason that recovery in the UK has lagged behind most parts of the world but it can be of no surprise to anybody that a "pile it high, sell it cheap" form of business support has had minimal impact.

I do not call for additional money. I will most certainly be disappointed if I do. I want to see much better use of that which is available. Focus it on the companies with growth potential. Focus it on those companies that can take advantage of growth in other parts of the world. Focus it on those that will create new jobs.

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As we come to the end of the year I hope that we all learn from some of the very harsh lessons that have been dealt in the past year or so. Most businesses will have done so, their very survival depends on it. Let's hope our politicians have done so too.

* Join us for some festive networking at Knebworth Barns on December 11 from 7.30am when once again we will be entertained by The Barnwell School Orchestra who will accompany us to The Twelve Days of Christmas. This is a very popular breakfast so book your place now. As always bring plenty of business cards and network over Bucks Fizz. To book your place visit www.hertschamber.com

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