Chancellor Delivers Upbeat Budget For Business

SMEs To Benefit From Apprenticeship Scheme


Fergal Dowling, Partner | +44 (0)121 214 5476

The Chancellor George Osborne has today (19th March) delivered his Budget with an upbeat message that economy is growing faster than he originally thought.

In addition to falling unemployment, the Office for Budget Responsibility has revised up its forecast for economic growth for this year from 1.8% to 2.7%.

The Budget also revealed a number of new initiatives designed to support UK enterprise, with some having a particular focus on smaller companies.

These included the extension of grants for SMEs to encourage them to take on an extra 100,000 apprentices.

Other initiatives include changes to the export finance system which would incorporate lower interest rates.

A £7bn package to cut energy bills for manufacturers and other businesses was announced as was an extension to enterprise zone benefits for another three years.

George Osborne said:  "The economy is continuing to recover and is recovering faster than forecast. We set out our plans and together with the British people we held our nerve. The job is far from done. Our country still borrows too much. We still don't invest, export or save enough, so today we do more to put that right.

"For many decades Britain has borrowed too much and saved too little so in this Budget we make sure hard working people keep more of what they earn and more of what they save. Faster growth alone will not balance the books. Securing Britain's economic future means more hard decisions, more cuts and the question for the British people is who has the credibility to deliver them?"

Expert Opinion
It was encouraging to hear such positive news about growth rates for the UK economy.

“SMEs have contributed to this growth and many of them will feel reassured that the economy is moving in the right direction and that they can play a big part in its continued expansion.

“We certainly can’t be complacent and small company owners will be acutely aware of the challenges that lie ahead As the economy grows, the availability of skills will become a key issue for ambitious SMEs. It is pleasing to see that the Chancellor has recognised this with grants to help smaller firms take on apprentices. It is vital that this initiative works otherwise SMEs could find that their growth plans become limited.”

Fergal Dowling, Partner