BUDGET 2011: Highlights from our live Budget webchat

Matt Thomas, editor of Smarta.com

On help for small businesses

  • Entrepreneur relief has doubled to £10m but I would liked to have seen more.
  • Small retailers to have business rate holiday to be extended for another year - much needed.

On Enterprise Zones

  • Boris to pick a zone. Good lord!

On apprenticeships

  • 40,000 more apprenticeships for young unemployed people. I'd love to see apprenticeships working properly for young people AND companies. Needs to be made easier.

On CGT

  • 'tighten capital gains tax for companies' - like to see that fleshed out, especially on big companies

On Osborne

  • There have been more mentions of 'business' than in any Budget I can remember under Brown or Darling.
  • Other nations have removed barriers to enterprise, lowered business tax... reverse has happened here'.... interesting!
  • Got to admit he's delivering this very well. Superb scripting!

Laura Rigney, founder of Pitcher House and co-founder, Mumpreneur UK

On start-ups

  • More funding for start-ups should be a must. This country is built on small businesses and entrepreneurs so the government needs to help as much as they can.
  • Britain is open for business - I hope so!

On cutting red tape

  • Why does every policy that could really help us 'take years to complete?

On Non-Doms

  • Non Doms now, Will Duncan Bannatyne get his wish?

On the Big Society

  • Easy for GO to say we're all in this together - I bet his payslip is better than most.

On education

  • What good is a fab education when there are no jobs for our children to go into?

On tax avoidance

  • They should hire you Jamie [Jamie Waller, fellow panellist and bailiff boss] to get it all back ;)

On personal tax and child credits

  • Increase in child tax credits for low income families...again great help.
  • Personal income tax allowance to increase by £1000 great for individuals self employed.

On airline taxes

  • Private Jet tax - shouldn't affect me at all. I rarely fly my private jet....prefer BMI

On Osborne

  • I am loving GO at the moment. Don't spoil it now George!
  • I may have just been converted from a labour supporter!
  • George will be a hero to many today. He has done a fantastic job! I wonder if Balls will have anything to say?

Stephen Archer, director of Spring Partnerships

On debt and deficit:

  • 4.4% inflation right now is not bad news given rising fuel and commodity prices. But the BoE must stay away from interest rise.
  • Great projections on deficit, does not mention that debt will rise to 71%. Ouch!
  • Debt and deficit reductions are non-negotiable otherwise Britain will become the next Greece
  • Low GDP expectation is very bad news, aggressive help for business and exporters is vital
  • The tax strategy is right - but can he deliver the detail or will the civil servants stuff the plan?

On tax simplification

  • The Office of Tax Simplification, **** another quango? Hope it employs no more than 10 people
  • Is he selling simplification before reduction? Risky play.
  • Taking years to fix? So the Coalition has given up on reforming civil service culture? Hope not

On 27% corporation tax rate

  • Corporation tax - great rallying cry - like it. Can you imagine Brown doing that? The Irish will be worried - a bit
  • SME's should be corporation tax exempt for 1st three years of trading

On investment in R&D

  • Science investment very good news - the spin offs and talent that this attracts is huge. This is one area where we can out-gun the BRICS and other upstarts
  • Capital allowances a good move - strong headline - low cost, very attractive and helpful
  • Manufacturing has halved under New Labour to 12% of GDP - a real hole in our ability to grow and export

On Enterprise Zones

Enterprise zones - having ditched some last year! Still a very, very good plan. Focus on downbeat brown field areas is smart.

On Labour opposition

  • This budget makes Balls job tricky. He would be smarter to support it - that would really scare the conservatives
  • 1.5m off tax - Balls should head to the bar.
  • Balls will look like a **** if he takes all of the budget apart

On education and apprenticeships

  • Great education makes great employers and great jobs but the journey will be long
  • Education in this country - we are 16th in the world ranking - disgraceful
  • Appenticeships long overdue. Thanks GO
  • He is in danger of sounding like Blair - education education education

On other miscellaneous tax

  • Inheritance tax for charity - very creative. A stealth route to funding big society too.
  • Council tax freeze will go down very badly in town halls - already under the cosh but well in communities. Well done
  • Per plane tax was never a flyer... My Lear Jet is now for sale

On fuel

  • Petrol, well done for meeting the trailed story on this. Some foot shuffling but a nicely set up reveal of the fuel stabiliser and deferments.

On Osborne

  • Yup, GO is friend to business and the poor. Very astute
  • He really does want a popular budget. He is imitating Churchill now!
  • GO - stellar work. This will be seen as one of the most cunning budgets for years - given the position that we are in

 

Jamie Waller, founder of JBW Group

On corporation tax

  • Corporation tax reduction down to 23%. This will allow me to invest my profits into the businesses, which in turn will allow the business to grow and create more jobs. This is fantastic for all profitable business like mine.

On Enterprise Zones

  • 21 Enterprise zones of which some of the most deprived areas of the UK will qualify for tax breaks etc. This was a huge achievement considering we were only expecting 10.
  • All eyes will now be on Boris and which zone he chooses for London. Let's hope it is not Kensington or Chelsea.

On Entrepreneurs' relief

  • Entrepreneurs' relief up to £10m. This will allow us hard working enterprising Brits to focus on our success and not worry about being taxed on all of our efforts.

On fuel rates

  • 0.45p per mile fuel allowance for business millage was way overdue. Up until today I could only recover a fraction of the real cost of fuelling a standard petrol car. I would however have liked to have seen this higher.

On National Insurance

  • Increase in NI was a blow. I would have like to have seen this abolished. The increase in tax free allowance helps employees and counteracts the increase but does not do much for SMEs.

On Council Tax

  • Council tax freeze is a great idea but I am not sure that Local Government can afford it.
  • This does however mean that they will take non-payment arrears seriously and appoint companies like ours to collect or enforce it. For all other B2C SMEs this will allow potential customers to spend more rather than give it to the Government.

On the Green Investment Bank

  • I have a huge concern over GO's proposed Green Bank. The Government loaning money to high risk projects will be disastrous.
  • When it all goes wrong, we will all end up paying with an increase in the very things that have just been cut e.g. corporation tax etc.
  • This is a Northern Rock situation and you would have thought the Government would have learnt their lesson.

On Osborne

  • What a budget. I think George Osborne did a fantastic job and has been very true to his word. He has put fuel back into Britain's economy and was truly business and family focused.
  • This will deliver excellent results for Briton and the people that we employ.
  • I do now believe that "Britain is open for business" and I am going to take full advantage of it

Best comments from webchat participants:

Liz: Am I missing something? 1p off fuel? Why am I not jumping for joy but you all seem pleased with it?

kes_south: So what's it going to mean at the pump. It went up 2p this morning already!!

JymJym: Fantastic budget George lad thus far. Why didn't we vote you in earlier?

Fangorn: More apprenticeships is definitely a great way to move forward...people have different skills - going to school post 16 and then on to University is not suitable for everyone.

Lucy: Why is there a strong focus on manufacturing when Britain is a services country? Isn't it best to outsource manufacturing to the places where it can be produced easier and far cheaper?

Hayley: I swear Ken Clarke just fell asleep

Jason: Credit isn't everything. It would be good to just being able to afford day to day things like fuel to get to and from work!

Missed the Budget webchat? You can replay it here.

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