Was that the gloomiest Budget in history - or is it just me?

29 April 2009

I wonder how long it took the marketing luvvies at Downing Street to come up with that uplifting Budget logo - 'Building Britain's Future.' To be fair It's not all that bad really - short, progressive and it involves masonry of some type. I'm just glad they didn't resurrect TB's 1997 campaign song,'Things Can Only Get Better ' otherwise Mrs Wilkin would have had an extra pair of pants to wash this week.

Alistair Darling's best attempt at good news in telling us that we would be basking in the warmth of 3.5% growth by 2011, was swiftly rubbished by those spoilsports from the opposition parties, the fiscal heavyweights Vince Cable of the Lib Dems, and Ken Clarke, who both hinted that the projections could have been the work of JK Rowling.

So what did the embattled Chancellor do for us in the business community? None of it was worthy of a headline, or even a page leader, but there were little snippets and a frisson of cheer:

  -  There is a temporary increase in First Year Capital Allowances from 20% to 40% for expenditure over and above the annual investment allowance on plant and machinery.

  -  HMRC's Business Payment Support Service is being expanded. Businesses may be able to use projected losses in 2009/2010 to offset against upcoming corporation and income tax bills.

  -  The VAT registration threshold is up to £68k.

But sadly none of this raised a smile when a BBC News 24 journalist spoke to a group of consumers and business owners in Derby. Not one of the hapless interviewees could find anything to be pleased about after all the Chancellor's best efforts.

Well I can. It seems to me that the new 50% tax on the grafters earning over £150k has caused a bit of a stir. So much so that many high earners, noticeably Sir Michael Caine and Peter Hargreaves, the co founder of Hargreaves Lansdown, Britain's biggest firm of financial advisers, are threatening to abandon our shores, presumably for Switzerland.

Now that in itself isn't good news - but just think of the possibilities. Cheer yourself up by making a list of the most irritating reality TV people, footballers and council officials and then hang on to the possibility of them leaving the country!  

I feel better already. I think I'll go and scrap my car.

Stuart Wilkin writes for Insider


Posted  29 April 2009


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