There will be few onboarding books, even the great Michael D Watkins book, that prepares a new starter for the size of task facing the UK chancellor yesterday. A landmark post election budget during a period of national crisis. In delivery terms the new chancellor was impressive in showing purpose and direction and an element of the strong leadership the former Prime Minister espoused, although ironically now a critic of this budget. But what of the budget from a jobs point of view? In the context of showing certainty in a period of uncertainty, this was not a great budget for jobs. Headlines but subtle small print that as before in all budgets gave ebulliently with one hand and then subtly took with the other.
For small and distressed businesses there was welcome relief but two notable omissions was relief in any form for the ailing larger retailers and perhaps more striking relief for smaller business in the service sectors. These two sections of the economy are very vulnerable if we have a delayed pandemic which changes buying trends for anymore than 2-3 weeks. The lack of rate relief for small service businesses was disappointing as was the shoring up of corporation tax which is a deterrent for many small businesses where the overall tax burden has grown disproportionately.
The great hope is the proposed spending on Infrastructure. Again here the small print tells all. In Wiltshire the Stonehenge tunnel is almost as legendary as the Lochness Monster. Our new chancellor is going to, at long last, sort this out. Well, almost, the chancellor really will look to sort the funding out. To really boost this economy the small print is the key area to be bolstered in future spending plans.