IoD – Unremarkable Budget for business

Commenting on the Chancellor’s Budget Statement, Dr. Roger Barker, Director of Policy at the Institute of Directors, said:

“First and foremost, business was hoping for a Budget that would maintain a stable and credible policy framework for business. The Chancellor largely delivered that. However, beyond that, there was little in the announcements that can be regarded as a game-changer for business.

“The net fiscal giveaway of £13.9bn, or 0.5% of GDP, in 2024/25 may at the margin help lift the economy out of its mild recession before an election later this year. However, business still faces the prospect of an economy that is unlikely to experience meaningful growth for some time – despite the slightly more optimistic growth forecasts from the OBR.

“The extension of the Recovery Loan Scheme was welcome and will provide some support for bank lending to SMEs. The Chancellor’s commitment to extend full expensing to leasing was also helpful, although there was little indication of when that might be implemented.

“The Chancellor rightly acknowledged that skills and labour shortages are a major problem for many UK enterprises. Although cuts to national insurance and boosts to child benefit provision may attract some people back into the workforce, the Budget offered little to address the economy’s deep-seated skills gaps. This was a major omission and business will be looking to a future government to urgently address this issue.

Clearly this was a Budget aimed at rallying political support rather than addressing the UK’s longer-term economic issues. However, it fell short of a delivering a comprehensive plan for sustainable growth and investment.”