Pre-Budget 2001: a damp squib

But perhaps that is what the nature of the pre-Budget statement is all about. It’s often called the green Budget but this year it was impossible to call the colour: its combination of consultation periods announced, previously touted proposals repeated and forecasts revised made this the opaque Budget.

With their guarded comments, the first rash of opinion-mongers from within the profession appeared to agree. ‘There were no obvious measures to facilitate a recovery of the manufacturing sector where output continues to fall,’ said HLB Kidsons head of tax Graham Garner-Jones.

Les Jones, Charities Finance Directors Group deputy chair and finance director of the World Wildlife Fund, said: ‘The CFDG welcomes the chancellor?s statement and expects that it will lead to some increased income for charities.’

David Tuch, head of KPMG’s share scheme practice, bemoaned ‘a great shame’ that the much touted enterprise management initiative would not deliver all it could.

But Frank Haskew of the ICAEW tax faculty was more succinct. ‘Most of these measures will sound like yesterday’s reheated breakfast to Britain’s entrepreneurs,’ he said simply.

But if the statement had a virtue it was that it did provide some useful guidance as to what we can expect once this dress rehearsal is out of the way and the proper show is repeated in March.

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