Posted: Tuesday, 23 March 2010 @ 10:26
I have heard Alistair Darling described as many things but the majority are not suitable for print! At the very least he would be described as the unluckiest chancellor in history. The role was certainly a poisoned chalice when he took over three years ago as the world stood on the verge of a huge financial catastrophe that we are all still feeling the effects of.
The tide looks to be finally turning with unemployment falling sharply, and the Bank of England predicting that growth in the first quarter of 2010 will continue at around 0.3%. If the latter turns out to be accurate when the figures are released at the end of April there will be relief all round that the “double dip” recession has been averted. Admittedly growth at this rate is still sluggish but it is imperative that it continues to help rebuild confidence.
The chancellor was under huge pressure from the credit rating agencies to put forward concrete plans in the budget to reduce the public deficit but realistically on the eve of a general election Gordon Brown was never going to let this happen. The main aim was therefore to cause as little harm as possible to both the economy and Labour’s political ambitions. Inevitably the tough decisions will have to be made by whoever takes on the job as chancellor following the election.
There were some modest measures outlined in the budget to help SME’s, such as the proposed cut in business rates to be introduced in October. However these do not avoid the continued uncertainty for business owners and entrepreneurs with the prospect that all announcements could be reversed following the election. What small and medium sized businesses really require now are irreversible plans to help them recover from the difficult last few years rather than to be ignored as has happened too often over the past few years. This smacks of being too little too late but given that SME’s account for 99.9% of all businesses and more than half of UK employment and turnover they are going to have a major influence on how quickly the economy fully recovers. We can only hope that once the election is over that the needs of small businesses are fully recognised and implemented.
What policy decisions would you like to see introduced following the election to help SME’s? I look forward to your responses.
Commercial Property Solicitor
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