Has the Budget passed the test?
James Durie, Executive Director of Business West in Bristol and board member of West of England LEP looks at whether the UK 2014 Budget has passed the test.
Business wanted a Budget that was disciplined, focused, and geared towards the creation of wealth and jobs – and that’s what the Chancellor has delivered.
With a huge confidence gap still separating employers from young job-seekers, we are very pleased to see the Chancellor heed our call to help firms take on and train tomorrow’s workforce.
Overcoming that confidence gap means more investment in young people, more apprenticeships, and more jobs, which are critical with more than 661,000 16-to-24-year-olds economically inactive in the South West.
Focus on exports
Osborne’s focus on exports, investment, house-building and economic resilience passes the business test.
By making a better business environment his top priority, the Chancellor has recognised that successful and confident companies are the key to transforming Britain’s growing economic recovery into one that is felt in homes and on high streets.
As with any Budget, there were some populist measures that were not at the top of business’s wish list.
Luckily, these were outweighed by measures to support business growth and wealth creation.
Many of these measures bode well for now, and for the future.
Yet the nurturing of a truly great economy requires more action than one Budget can deliver.
At the upcoming General Election, all our political parties must commit to a long-term programme that transforms our infrastructure, a much stronger skills and education base, access to finance and support for growing companies, even more export support and a clear, consistent tax environment.
Otherwise some of the Chancellor’s welcome moves might not have the desired effect in years to come.”