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HEADWINDS DAVID SEALL CEng FRAeS MiMMM MIoD David is the Regional Chairman of IoD South. He is a former Chair of IoD Surrey and is an experienced Non-Executive Director. He is retained by DMH Stallard LLP as their Strategic Adviser Manufacturing ∕


ooking at the aftermath following the Chancellor’s budget it’s easy to miss some of the good things that will benefit

businesses of all shapes and sizes amidst the uproar of the resignation of the Work and Pensions Secretary.

For some time now the IoD has been

reform and the so called Sugar Tax struck me

rather like the one given to those in retirement.

as two of those initiatives thought up in the

It’s also disappointing that the Chancellor has not been bolder on tax reform and simplification. Smaller businesses will welcome the doubling

There was plenty in the Budget for small

of the business rates exemption, but mid-sized

and medium-sized businesses. I’m sure that

businesses will feel rightly aggrieved that the

we all welcome more relief on business rates

reliefs are withdrawn too quickly as a business

and cuts to capital gains tax, and a further

moves from start-up to scale-up. Additionally

corporation tax reduction coming in a few

we still need to see the reform or abolition of


National Insurance, a non-hypothecated tax

The Chancellor’s decision to outline significant progress towards the £12,500

which is a tax on employment. It was good to see support for major

personal tax allowance and a £50,000 higher

infrastructure projects. The ones in the North

rate tax threshold should be welcomed and

are much needed but it was encouraging to see

the increase in the higher rate tax threshold

Crossrail2, vital for the Surrey economy, getting

to £45,000 from next April is particularly long

a nod of approval.

overdue. However it’s slightly disappointing that he

The academies programme for school

lobbying for a “triple lock” on these allowances

It was also is good to see the Chancellor attempt embrace the sharing economy by

days before the Budget statement that were not fully analysed. In Education and skills, as all employers know, standards matter much more than structures, so the changes in governance that academisation requires, risks becoming a distraction from the core issues of improving teaching and learning. Likewise making studying maths compulsory until the age of 18 is on paper a very good thing. However what’s taught needs to be relevant and targeted to the abilities and needs of the individual. My policy colleagues often tell me that things like this are thrown into the speech at an amazingly late hour to try to grab positive headlines the next day. We can all remember those that didn’t work or needed radical reform afterwards, the climate change levy and airport passenger duty spring to mind.

did not smooth out the excessive and counter-

announcing a world first ‘sharing economy’

productive spikes in marginal tax of more

allowance. However, the £1,000 allowance

whether, with his significant “headwinds” in

than 60% that occurs when child benefit is

for such things such as renting out a parking

the Global economy, he will able to meet the

withdrawn on earnings over £50,000 and the

space or a room through Airbnb is still very

commitment of the delivery of a budget surplus

personal allowance at earnings over £100,000.

low. We should be encouraging the utilisation

by the end of the decade. I hope, that with

This is another tax dilemma, rather like

of these assets. How many parking spaces

the key votes out of the way by the autumn,

National Insurance, that isn’t easily understood

would be freed up at Surrey railway stations if

we may see some more radical reforms that

by the media but hits some very hard and is a

commuters could park at a competitive price

address some of our underlying problems in

disincentive to be ambitious.

near the station in someone’s drive!

the economy.


So the challenge to the Chancellor is