Bold Budget needed to spur economic recovery and renewal

Author
Ian Mean
Director of Business West Gloucestershire | Business West
10th February 2021

In just a few weeks on 3rd March, our Chancellor Rishi Sunak must deliver what must surely be one of the most important Budget statements in living memory.

Indeed, I think it matches the aftermath of World War II as a moment to really transform our economy from the dark shadows of COVID.

As the brilliance of the vaccine rollout grows by the day, the focus now is on a clear plan for the future and reviving the economy.

We are promised a road map for that future by the Prime Minister on 22nd February and it cannot come too soon.

This government now needs to prove that it is really on the side of business in the Budget.

Granted Rishi Sunak has masterminded the furlough scheme, which has saved thousands of jobs and companies, but we now need big ideas that will enable business to have the confidence to invest and expand.

Unless companies do that, we will not get the productivity we need to reset the economy.

The Chancellor must certainly extend the business rates holiday due to end in April.

And the furlough scheme - also due to end in April - must be extended despite the cost. More than one in eight workers in the UK were furloughed at the end of December.

National Insurance is a tax on jobs - an additional income tax levied at 12 percent on most employees and 13.8 percent on employers.

This should be merged with income tax into a single tax on employment income and that should be lower overall.

A massive new initiative must go into apprenticeships and supporting FE colleges. The current incentives are just not sufficient for struggling firms to take on our young people.

The government must encourage the entrepreneurial spirit - particularly for our young people who have gone through so much worry about their futures.

We need programmes like the old Thatcher government Enterprise Allowance Scheme. That gave anyone unemployed who had £1,000, an idea and a desire to work for themselves the right to draw unemployment benefit for a year while starting their company.

Rishi must be bold and have the ideas that restart our economy and give companies the support they need.

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