George Osborne presented his third budget on Wednesday 21 March 2012.
The chancellor started by reaffirming the need for stability in the UK economy and finished in Churchillian style with phrases such as:
“No people will strive as the British will strive.”
"No country will adapt as the British will adapt.”
“This country borrowed its way into trouble. Now we are going to earn our way out.”
Unfortunately, despite the hype, this Budget is largely an irrelevance. That’s not to say it doesn’t contain its share of headline grabbing announcements – it certainly does! But welcome as some of those are, the reality is that we are facing an economic growth crisis. And while 10% of the solutions to that crisis may come from budgets, for the other 90% we must look to the regions businesses.
The simple truth is that it is businesses and not the budgets that offer us the best hope of putting things right by replacing the jobs, income and wealth lost and generating the extra taxes needed to sort out public finances. Budget measures such as the cut in corporation tax will only ever help a bit. It is how businesses respond that really matters, since they are the real engine of growth.
For business owners the sting in the tail from the Budget is the fact that the changes announced look likely to give the taxman new powers to, in the words of one entrepreneur, “bleed them dry”. The devil will of course be in the detail. But it does seem that many taxpayers will now face a more penal and less accommodating tax system, with many reliefs and legitimate forms of tax planning no longer available.
So to ensure that this much tougher tax regime does not discourage local businesses from becoming the engines of growth that society desperately needs them to be, we are launching a 2012 Tax Minimisation Review Initiative. Its aim is simples: to encourage and support growth in the Cheshire area by making sure that no one pays a single penny more than their fair share of tax.