RegulationCorporate GovernanceBudget staples are here to stay

Budget staples are here to stay

This is the chancellor’s 11th and final Budget and a quick survey of Accountancy Age Budget pages past and present makes for interesting reading, especially the last four years

In two of those four years we have highlighted the chancellor’s clampdown on
tax avoidance, in another we highlight the Treasury’s underestimation of how
much will be raised from closing a loophole and in another we almost sing his
praises for reducing red tape on SMEs.

These are common themes so the question is will they continue once the
chancellor has moved on to number 10?

Regardless of what happens in this Budget, SME red tape will never go away.
Red tape busting reform from time to time will keep small businesses and middle
England happy for a long time to come. It’s good sense and good politics.

HMRC’s anti avoidance project has alienated big business and big firms and
has gone some way to souring relations with UK plc. In fact, it’s the policy on
tax that has led many to question whether their companies should continue to be
based in the UK. A change of tack could therefore be in the offing to placate
this unrest.

Underestimating the effect of closing a loophole is always going to happen.
HMRC senses they have to be closed, but the profession and business knows their
true value in keeping the UK competitive. And when the private sector manages to
point out how the Treasury’s number crunchers have gotten their sums wrong it’s
embarrassing.

But underestimating the numbers is almost an imperative. An insignificant
impact is a means of consoling business, of arguing that they can do without the
benefit. This makes it almost a politically expedient, and therefore something
we can expect to see for a long time to come.

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