By Marcus Leach
As the 2011 Budget draws nearer there has been constant talk from the Chancellor and Prime Minister that we will see a budget that is “pro-growth, pro-enterprise and pro-aspiration.”
But until the actual announcement, scheduled for Wednesday at 12:30 GMT, it will be difficult to gauge if the Coalition government can, as they have promised, “tear down the barriers to enterprise.”
Given that recent unemployment figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that unemployment in the UK is at a seventeen year high, the focus has to be on job creation, and that starts with SMEs (small to medium-sized businesses), and the scrapping of out-dated rules and regulations that have restrained them for far too long.
It seems to be the government’s desire to drive the economy forward by getting rid of the seemingly endless red tape that has hindered SMEs in the past. But in order to do this we need to see the Chancellor implement serious incentives that encourage the country’s SMEs to create jobs, if indeed this budget is going to be pro-growth.
We already know that there are plans for up to twenty enterprise zones, complete with tax breaks, planning approval and discounted business rates, with £100 million earmarked for what will be a repeat of a similar scheme as seen under the Conservative regime in the 1980s. However, there has been scepticism as to the potential success of such zones, criticised previously for not delivering on their promises of job creation.
But it will take more than enterprise zones to rectify the problems facing the government. Aside from the major issues, such as the scrapping of the 50 per cent tax rate and simplification of the tax code in general, the Chancellor needs to ensure he focuses on the finer details that could make all the difference.
Lauded for his deficit reduction strategy in the last budget the Chancellor must now deliver a budget that will boost growth, a challenge even for Mr Osborne. The key for a budget of pro-growth and pro-enterprise centers around job creation, and for that to take place don’t expect to see sweeping changes in the budget, but rather a lot of tinkering with the aim being to affect a long-lasting change that will see Britain move forward with SMEs leading the charge.