Giles Murphy, head of business interests at Smith & Williamson, the accountancy, investment management and tax group, said:
“Philip Hammond needs to take the bull by the horns in the Autumn Budget and introduce measures that will positively impact the UK economy.
“There are three key measures Hammond could introduce that would have an immediate positive effect: policies to encourage the opportunities around scale-ups; begin delivering meaningful investment in core UK industries; and revamp the entire concept of the Budget.”
Scrap the Budget entirely
“Do we even need an annual Budget? It is increasingly a political spectacle. The problem with an annual event is that small changes end up getting overinflated and major aspects are often missed. Adding one penny to the price of beer often overshadows a multi-billion pound infrastructure investment.
“The Budget puts undue strain on everyone for a short period of time. If measures were introduced gradually throughout the year then there could be more reasoned discussion and perhaps a longer term focus. The Chancellor should look to provide more regular updates. In a world of real time information and continual updates should individuals and businesses be forced to rely on an archaic concept? Government is keen to promote real time recording so why should we expect any less from them?”
Scale-up for the future
“There are so many ‘quick-wins’ in the context of fast growth businesses. Simple alterations to the tax system, which will be relatively cost neutral, could benefit those companies greatly.
“Scale-up businesses are vital to our economy but the complexity of the tax system makes it near impossible for companies to use the very advantages which are there for their benefit. For example, we continually hear how many companies are struggling with R&D tax credits or patent box claims. The government should be taking steps to make it easier for people to claim, reducing the complexity and speeding up the process.”
“The Growth Support Service, a service designed to assist small and mid-sized businesses, was launched at the start of autumn but actually finding concrete detail on the platform is very hard. Hammond should look to invest, a comparatively small amount of money, in amalgamating all the detail for the services offered to scale-ups in one centralised location. Scale-ups would benefit dramatically from being able to turn to a single repository of information.”
Massive infrastructure investment will sow seeds of growth for years
“The Chancellor needs to make a decision as to where funding is going to go and then press the issue. People can then plan appropriately. If Britain is going to remain a central player in the global marketplace the questions shouldn’t be ‘which airport gets the next runway?’ but rather ‘how many runways do we need to build to ensure Britain remains a global nexus.
“Outside of the big projects, Philip Hammond should identify, and then invest in, the areas of the UK economy where we are truly world beaters: financial services, education, pharmaceutical, precision engineering etc. If we want Brexit to be a success we need to promote the areas the rest of the world truly relies on us for.”