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Business Finance Expert Comments On Spring Budget Announcement

The Chancellor made his Spring Budget announcement on the 15th of March 2023. With both inflation and staff shortages remaining high, moves to counter inflationary pressures and incentivise a return to work for those that are able – including over-50s that have taken an early retirement – have remained at the forefront of the Chancellor’s priorities.

Starting out, the Chancellor provided an optimistic forecast that inflation will drop to 2.9% by the end of 2023, reducing by over half in comparison to the 10.7% recorded at the end of 2022. 

As expected, the Chancellor’s Budget announcement has attempted to entice those that have recently taken an early retirement, or have had to leave work due to a long-term illness or disability, back into the UK workforce. 

These incentives include a ‘Universal Support’ scheme for those that have left work due to disability, allowing them to return to work without fear of losing their financial support, and a 3-step plan targeting early-retirees – with the main support scheme being dubbed a ‘Returnership’ – an apprenticeship scheme for over-50s returning to work. 

And working parents are not going without, either, with the Chancellor unveiling funding for 30 hours of childcare per week for parents of children aged under 5.

Commenting on the Chancellor’s Budget announcement, NerdWallet‘s business finance expert, Connor Campbell, said:

“After what can only be described as an extremely difficult year for businesses across the UK, many business owners are likely to have mixed reactions to the Spring Budget announcement delivered by the Chancellor.

“There was plenty for businesses to digest in Jeremy Hunt’s Spring Budget. While corporation tax is still set to increase from 19% to 25%, the Chancellor has claimed that only 10% of UK businesses will pay that amount thanks to full capital expensing. 

“The burden will fall on businesses themselves, however, to ensure this is the case. Organisations will need to proactively make sure they are taking advantage of the investment allowance to avoid being hit by the new higher level of corporation tax.

“The big push to get people back to work is welcome news for businesses. Not only will it help ease any hiring issues firms may be currently facing by widening the pool of potential employees, businesses may also benefit from an injection of experience into the workplace as the government incentivises over-50s to rejoin the workforce. 

“Creating an all-ages workplace, where fresh graduates mix with experienced colleagues, is a fantastic way to ensure every challenge is greeted with multiple perspectives and approaches. And this is only more likely to happen if the over-50s Hunt is targeting take up his offer.  

“The creation of 12 investment zones across the UK, complete with tax reliefs and grant funding, is an appealing prospect for the country’s entrepreneurs. We are a nation of entrepreneurs, and these investment zones will hopefully continue to drive this spirit – however, more arguably could be done to ensure this is the case across the entire country, in areas perhaps more deprived than those selected.

“What was missing in Hunt’s budget was any extra help for businesses with their energy bills. The much-reduced Energy Bills Discount Scheme will replace the existing Energy Bill Relief Scheme next month, leaving businesses potentially facing a significant increase in how much they need to spend on gas and electricity. Especially if it remains as unseasonably chilly as it has done this March. 

“For all the long-term, pro-business announcements the Chancellor made, by failing to address business energy costs, he has arguably ignored the biggest challenge firms are facing in the short-term.”

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