Autumn Statement 2014: What entrepreneurs and business builders want George Osborne to announce


David Brennan, MD at Nexus Vehicle Management, said:

For me, the key desired outcome from the Autumn Statement is that the current economic confidence continues to be built upon so businesses can carry on building their workforce and investing in growth. In the lead up to next years election Id like to see continuity, stability and consistent tax structures in order that organisations can plan with certainty and confidence for the coming year.

“What the economy doesnt need is a range of flash-in-the-pan election-winning promises which havent been properly thought through to consider how they will impact on both business and consumers in practice.

From a motoring and fleet perspective, Im keen to see further investment in transport infrastructure to support growing businesses in taking their products and services out to customers and suppliers. The UKs roads are integral to keeping our economy moving and this needs to remain forefront of Osbornes mind.

Neil Addley, MD at Trusted Dealers, said:

“Whilst it’s pretty clear that the chancellor isnt going to be able to give a lot away ahead of the Autumn Statement, the most important thing Osborne could do from a motoring perspective is to continue to enhance investment in infrastructure to help avoid the danger of the economy being choked off by congestion and delays.

“On a more general note, it will be good to see the threshold at which people have to pay income tax lifted again as this seems the most logical and fair way to broaden the impact of the economic recovery which at least seems to have benefited the better-off disproportionately. Whilst this won’t boost revenue from income tax, the money spent (and it almost all will be) is likely to wash through the economy as increased spending increases other tax receipts.

“There are dangers that introducing devolution creates uncertainty in the market and puts businesses off investing. The chancellor and his Scottish, Welsh and regional counterparts should strive to keep the playing field as level as possible.

“Finally, it would be nice to think we would see a medium term reduction in VAT as again the savings consumers make will be likely to be spent elsewhere.”

Thomas Villeneuve, CEO and founder of flat-sharing network Weroom, said:

“With house prices set to increase by 10,000 in the New Year, it’s clear that it is only going to become more difficult for young Brits to make that critical first step onto the property ladder, which means that the demand for people needing to enter flat shares particularly in cities is going to grow. One thing that we would therefore like to see raised in the Autumn Statement is the introduction of a dedicated renting minister, which would help to support the flat-sharing industry and allow businesses like Weroom to grow their communities by providing greater incentives to renters and landlords to enter flat share schemes.

The introduction of a renting minister would open up the potential to offer greater support to property owners and landlords, specifically through rent subsidies and financial support schemes. This would help companies like Weroom grow its portfolio of landlords and tenants by making flat-sharing an even more accessible, financially benefitting and transparent experience, which in turn would help expand our flat-sharing network across the UK. Its clear that as house prices continue to increase, more people are being forced to enter the property landscape far later in their adult lives than 10 years ago, which means the demand for flat-sharing is inevitably going to expand. The government needs to acknowledge this and offer greater support to flat-sharing companies like Weroom because flat-sharing is fast becoming the only option for many young people living in Britain.

Philippe Gelis, CEO and co-founder of Kantox, said:

Its really encouraging to see that SMEs the engines of the economy are still being prioritised from a policy perspective, with exporting still high on the agenda. There has been talk of freezing long-haul air passenger duty as a way to help UK businesses trade with new growth markets.

Although this would help tackle the export issue from a physical distribution perspective, it still doesnt tap into the underlying issues that prevent SMEs from trading on a global stage paralysing fear of foreign exchange (FX) risk and frustration with banks opaque FX services, no doubt heightened after the recent high-profile scandal.

Although many SMEs might be tempted to view a potential drop in business rates as an early Christmas present, it may be a case of relieving one burden and forcing them into another if they are not made aware of how to manage the risks that come with trading overseas in their quest for growth.

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