“Given the economic climate, the chancellor was always going to struggle to deliver a budget which did nothing more than try and maintain stability. Today’s budget does nothing to address the falling competitiveness of the UK nor to restore confidence overseas in the UK as a place to invest and do business.”Michael Izza, CEO of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales“Having a pool of money to help women entrepreneurs is all well and good, but is it really enough to improve the situation in our boardrooms? It takes years to build up a company, and while £12.5m is a start, it’s hard for them to feel inspired to set up shop given the scandalous imbalance in the senior management teams in our country’s biggest businesses. The country’s businesswomen deserve more commitment from the Government.”Sally Toumi, managing director of Stark Brooks Associates “The Chancellor didn’t set the Thames alight, but then he didn’t have anything to set it alight with. On the surface there are no nasty surprises, but his growth assumptions are optimistic and leave him with little room for manoeuvre should things take a turn for the worse.”Richard Lambert, Director-General of the CBI “There were no startling headlines. After all, all the interesting things had already been announced. Of great interest to small businesses is the so-called income shifting rules. Despite having months of consultation the Government now says it wants more, so legislation will not be introduced until at least 2009. I welcome the fact that our concerns are being listened too, but deplore the continued uncertainty for small businesses and their owners. How can people make sensible decisions for the future? I welcome the changes to the Enterprise Investment Scheme and Enterprise Management Incentive schemes, but this was about the only time innovation and entrepreneurship was mentioned.”Andrew Jupp, Tenon’s Head of Tax "Alistair Darling boasts about growth, but in five of the last ten years the OECD average has been higher than the UK. Growth has been a shameful 30 per cent lower in Scotland than the UK average for over 25 years. As well as dithering, the Chancellor is also clearly in denial. The fact is that this was a Budget with no new ideas, just disappointment and more dither and delay. There are a number of serious problems inherent in this Budget; firstly, it confirms the unsustainable levels of debt; it does nothing to address economic uncompetitiveness or stimulate the Scottish economy; and it reveals the UK’s parlous balance of payments position. Despite Alistair Darling being the second consecutive Scottish Chancellor, we have another budget that is bad news for Scotland. All in all, this is a desperate Budget from a devalued Chancellor."Stewart Hosie MP, SNP Westminster Treasury spokesperson “This is a budget which gives only limited help to the poor, but maintains special treatment for the rich. A budget designed to fill a black hole masquerading as good for the environment. A budget which will not make Britain fairer, and a budget that is a great green cop out, as most of the new green taxes are being delayed. This budget gives no real help to families struggling with higher food bills, higher energy bills and higher debt repayments. What is this budget doing to help junior nurses, teaching assistants and soldiers serving in Afghanistan? The answer is nothing. After 11 years in Government, Labour has completed its fiscal fusion with the Tory Party.”Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat Leader “Finally it seems we may have an announcement from the Chancellor that doesn’t spring any nasty surprises on small businesses. Plans to reform regulation, improve access to finance by expanding the small firms loan guarantee scheme, help female entrepreneurs and for a goal to give at least 30 per cent of public sector procurement to small and medium-sized businesses all have our support. But these plans will need to be backed up with real action."John Wright, FSB National Chairman "The changes to encourage enterprise come at an odd time. They follow the recent CGT changes and the introduction of the income shifting rules, which will create an administrative headache for thousands of entrepreneurial companies. This comes on the back of a removal of the 0 per cent tax charge to encourage start-up companies which was previously heralded as a boost for enterprise." Kevin Nicholson, head of entrepreneurs, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP “Small businesses need clarity on their tax position and less red tape so that they can focus on their business rather than additional paperwork that might save them very little tax. It’s time for a complete overhaul but only after full consultation with the business community and its advisers, which should take a minimum of two years from its beginning to the introduction of legislation, with a minimum period of six months devoted to dealing with any issues raised once draft legislation has been made public. If I could have just one wish for the 2008 Budget, it would be to hear the Chancellor announce the start of a full review of the SME tax position.” Lisa Macpherson, National Director of Tax at PKF "This seems to be largely a Budget of delaying tactics. Rather like the Cheltenham racers, businesses are left waiting in the stalls by today’s announcement. We knew what was coming for business, but the Budget still penalises entrepreneurs and SMEs. ACCA welcomes the Government’s renewed focus on increasing the number of female owned businesses. But it is important to note that the Government has missed its previous target of achieving 20 per cent more female enterprises by 2006. What will be different this time round?"Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of taxation at ACCA How will the Budget impact entrepreneurs? Click here.
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