I suppose we should be grateful that we’re reacting with a yawn as opposed to wild, angry fist-waving (i.e. the reaction after the Pre-Budget Report when changes to the capital gains tax regime, including the abolition of taper relief, were first mooted).
Still, I’m sure Darling, in his heart of hearts, would have preferred a more barnstorming performance.
When asked for his views on the Budget, Rhodri Ferrier, the co-founder of men’s natural grooming brand Bulldog, noted diplomatically: “I’d say it’s not been the most interesting one.”
Andrew Jupp, head of tax at professional services group Tenon, seemed a little miffed by the big announcement: “I was surprised at how boring it was. It was dreadfully boring both in terms of how it was presented and in terms of what he said.”
(He’s right – Darling’s delivery wasn’t exactly sparkling. The Chancellor didn’t even get excited when defending the government’s controversial tax on non-domiciled residents.)
Meanwhile, the ever-entertaining Chris Lewis, head of Lewis PR, told me: “The TV has been chattering away with the Budget on it but is there anything to get excited about” It’s like mood music from the Titanic. I mean, everyone knows the ship is going down: Nearer, My Tax, To Thee.”
He then added: “This is the Sweeney Todd Chancellor. We expect budgets to give us a shave and a haircut and then we end up getting butchered.”
Most entrepreneurs will share his sentiment. The only thing that could have made Darling and his cronies more palatable to the entrepreneurial community would have been further, and this time favourable, changes to capital gains tax. And that was never going to happen.
(However, Jupp admitted: “I was still hoping, although not expecting, last minute changes to the capital gains tax rules.”)
Disgruntled entrepreneurs won’t even be able to take solace in the bottle without being hit in the hip pocket. Darling also announced that at midnight on Sunday, beer will go up 4p per pint, cider 3p per pint, wine 14p per bottle and spirits a whopping 55p per bottle.
And while that may inject some life into the Red Tops’ Budget coverage, it’s not enough to stifle our Budget-induced yawn.Related articlesBudget 2008: The impact on entrepreneursThe Budget backlashEntrepreneurs mull over SFLG measures in Budget