By Maximilian Clarke
Yesterday’s (Tuesday) Autumn Statement has been met with mixed reactions: with the promise of further cuts and a recovery that will take a full six years coupled with a host of growth friendly policies that have been welcomed by the business world.
Reacting to the statement, one senior business analyst has commented on specific measures introduced. Stephen Archer, Director of Spring Partnerships said:
The announcement of the National Loan Guarantee Scheme which will see a major programme of credit easing capped at £40bn, with £20bn available in the next two years was very positive. However, I would like to see more details particularly on how the entitlement will work.
The extension of the business rate relief holiday to April 2013 — six months longer than previously announced is also a good gesture that will benefit a lot of SMEs.
The launch of the new Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme which will see anyone investing up to £100,000 in a qualifying start-up from April 2012 receive income tax relief of 50% is also excellent. However, this announcement could have gone further to cover NI, secondary investment relief, profit tax relief for four years, but for entrepreneurs this will be attractive and a stimulus.
The government also announced two new Enterprise Zones in Humber and Lancashire which is great and even better if they attract inward investment.
The announcement of an additional £75m of government investment in helping tech-based start-ups to make their innovations a success is a drop in the ocean but a good signal.
Also, announced was the National Infrastructure Plan 2011, which will include the planning of over 500 projects to address key infrastructure challenges such as energy, transport and telecommunications, to improve conditions for businesses. Again, this is another good plan and I hope they build a new airport on the Thames rather than going ahead with HS2. Interestingly there was no mention of HS2 — why wasn’t it included?
The block on EU bank controls is also quite strong and should be seen in EU eyes as compensated for by our own regulations for banks. Banks were also hit with more levy — and this is right.
The use of private pension funds to support infrastructure is not new but well played politically.
There are more austerity measures for the UK, but these are minor sacrifices compared to those in other equally indebted EU states.
There was also a healthy focus on the need for UK to be globally competitive. This statement is clearly meant to be seen by the global investment community. EU members will not like it...
Lastly, there was a little help on petrol — that will give a feel good(ish) to most people.
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