In the lead up to the Autumn Budget on 27 October business leader Neil Debenham is calling for the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to put in place long-term reforms that support the scale-up of UK businesses, instead of focusing solely on revenue raising measures as part of a post-pandemic recovery strategy.
Debenham is a renowned business trouble-shooter, consultant and private equity specialist who has facilitated over £50m worth of private equity and debt investment into scaling UK businesses. He now specialises in supporting SMEs of all types reach their full growth potential.
Debenham who is a renowned business troubleshooter, consultant and private equity specialist said, “So far, the Chancellor’s economic response to the pandemic has been welcomed with open arms. Relief and support packages have helped businesses overcome the immediate disruption posed by COVID. However, the real challenge now begins.
“The March 2021 Budget offered support for SMEs to stay afloat but six months later, the circumstances are different. The government wants businesses to stand on their own two feet again, and the 2021 Autumn Budget will reflect this.
“Announcing spending pledges during national emergencies is simple and straightforward. The real challenge is recovering the accrued debt through tax hikes and spending cuts.
“The Chancellor knows all too well that this Autumn Budget needs to address public debt, while not impacting productivity, entrepreneurship, and innovation. Hard decisions need to be made and a clever balancing act needs to be negotiated.
“The end of furlough and removal of VAT cuts for hospitality, as well as the slashing of universal credit are all on the table. The Chancellor will also outline new reforms to Business Rates should its review be published this autumn, though the technical details are not known.
“Overall, any reforms that are introduced should ultimately focus on the long-term growth of the private sector; namely, start-ups and scale-up businesses which are vital to the future of the UK economy. Incentives need to be in place that collectively enable business growth through investment schemes or ongoing relief packages.
“Businesses are faced with a long list of relatively new challenges – from ongoing pandemic uncertainty to Brexit, skills shortages and the need to adapt to shifting consumer preferences. The fear is that additional regulations could put many smaller firms at risk of facing significant financial hardships.
“My biggest concern is that companies will be penalised through tax rises and regulation to address the public deficit. What we need is a simpler and smarter tax system for businesses. The hope is that Chancellor Sunak uses this budget to alleviate the stresses businesses are currently under. They hold the key to the UK’s post pandemic recovery.”
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