Chancellor Darling’s Budget offers no support to small businesses

Chancellor Darling's Budget was an inevitably dowdy Budget, which totally missed the opportunity to offer support to the small business owners that contribute so much to the economy.

We have now had a week to read the small print and cut through all the puff of Chancellor Darling’s Budget speech. It was an inevitably dowdy Budget, which totally missed the opportunity to offer support to the small business owners that contribute so much to the economy.

It was a Budget that was met with a great degree of scepticism by many and a sense that Darling was simply going through the motions. As David Cameron joked in his response, he might as well have been reading out of the phone book.

According to a poll in The Independent, 73 per cent of the 100 prominent business leaders questioned believe this Budget will actually contribute to a UK economic downturn.

While the headline concessions to business might appear to be good news, the small print tells a different story. Take the lowering of the corporation tax rate highlighted in Darling’s Budget speech. In fact, the smaller companies rate is due to rise this year and continue to do so until 2009. What Darling has given with one hand, he has taken away with the other, and in this instance it is small business that loses out.

Another of the big announcements was the £12.5 million fund put aside to ‘specifically encourage more women entrepreneurs’. This was met with a cynical response from Tanya Hine, President of the The British Association of Women Entrepreneurs, who went as far as to criticise the proposed scheme for targeting smaller, home-based businesses.

According to Hine, the problem is that these small enterprises ‘are not really fully businesses’, and amount to ‘a lifestyle choice’ but not proper employment for the home-workers. I’m sure many SmallBusiness.co.uk readers would disagree strongly. More pertinent is the realisation that £12.5 million just isn’t enough to address the imbalances between male and female business support. It amounts to no more than a token gesture aimed at appeasing women entrepreneurs.

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Budget