Here's our round-up of all the main proposals in Darling's speech that would have an impact on small businesses - and what you should make of them. Please do share your reactions in the comments section below.
First things first - the vast majority of this assumes Labour get re-elected, which isn't looking all that likely. It might still be just about possible, and even more so with a Budget like this, which has pretty obviously adopted a populist stance of tax the rich to help the poor and struggling (you can read the full transcript containing all measures here). But it's unlikely.
But one thing's for sure: Labour are definitely pulling out a good few stops to try to lure small businesses back into their camp. More bank lending to and investment in struggling and green businesses, encouraging university spin-outs, doubling the annual investment allowance - all send a very pro-enterprise message. But there's nothing that ground-breaking here. Labour are always announcing new funds for new businesses. That's not to say it's not welcome, just not revolutionary.
Encouraging university enterprise centres is smart - there's lots of good stuff coming out of them, and a lot of young people need support with figuring out how to monetise their great inventions.
The business rates are the real winner here we reckon - that'll be very welcome news to loads of you. We also like the potential scrapping of the compulsory retirement age (find out why we'd like this to happen).
We're not sure how the guarantee of all those jobs for young people is going to happen. If small businesses get incentivised to employ them, great - if not, it's surely a bit of an empty promise. And increasing the number of government contracts for small businesses - we've heard it all before and it never seems to happen. (Find out more about public sector procurement as a small business.)
But it's really bad news for the pub and bar industry, who always seem to get a bashing in the Budget. The enormous 10% hike on alcohol duty on cider is awful, and will really squeeze the often small orchards and brewers who make it. Less severe but more general increases to alcohol duty and tobacco duty are no great surprise but still a nasty blow to an industry that's already suffered heavily throughout the recession and really could do with a bit of a break. Surely there are better ways to deter the public from overdoing it with fags and booze?
Overall, we quite like this Budget as far as most small businesses are concerned. That said, it is far, far easier to make all these brilliant promises when it's looking like you won't have to follow up on a single one of them. And it wouldn't be the first time a government had made promises to try to rally support when deep down it never had a single intention of following through with them.