This Spring Budget, was not only the last Spring Budget, but the last Budget before Britain formally starts the process of leaving the European Union. Irrespective of Brexit, the objective of securing our future by investing in technology and infrastructure, and at the same time building our reserves, is essential.
This Budget was intent on recognising the UK’s ‘coming of age’ and, by starting to invest in measures to drive productivity, the onus fell on our business sector. It was therefore disappointing, that this Budget was lacking in business interest, especially for Suffolk. Despite calls to unburden business in order to stimulate growth, including reversing rises in Insurance Premium taxes this year and reviewing the rates system; the Budget did little to incentivise.
However, whilst the changes to the self-employed National Insurance contributions (NICs) were inappropriate at this time, they should not, be ruled out in the long term. I am firm in the view that a simpler tax system would be advantageous. This is particularly in light of increases in the self-employed, an important indicator of our thriving economy and of the fact that many of our traditional employment models, are changing.
Having run a small business, I know the risks and hardships and, that rewards can be a long time coming. But, I am a Conservative because we always have and always will continue to support SME’s. That is why, going forward, we must do more to incentivise business and job creation.
So, whilst the decision to reform NICs was misjudged, the aim of a fairer tax system, is right. Furthermore, from this spring we are at a starting point to pursue a more positive direction. With increasingly more difficult decisions to come, I am determined to ensure we are measured in our actions, continue to equip our businesses, and the economy for the future.
Therefore, while this Budget may have laid the foundations of a plan to stimulate entrepreneurship, I look forward to ensuring a stronger a commercial focus, for the autumn.
Published in the East Anglian Daily Times