If there was a Budget to get the UK’s animal spirits soaring again, then this could be the one.
On top of the cuts in corporation tax and national insurance, there’s a basket of new measures to help enterprise such as the abolition of stamp duty for buying shares on AIM, the UK’s listed small-company stock market, and other growth markets; capital gains tax relief on employee share ownership; an extension of relief for start-ups as well as the introduction of tax relief on private investment in social enterprises.
These may seem like tiny changes but over time they can add up to have a big multiplying effect. Just abolishing stamp duty on trading shares in the growth stock markets could give a huge boost, with analysts forecasting up to a million new jobs to the economy over the next few year.
It’s also a good sign that the Chancellor has finally understood that equity finance should be treated as favourably – if not more so – than debt.
Clem Chambers, the chief executive of ADVFN, the private investors’ website, liked the way Mr Obsorne used what he called the “Thatcher multiplier rather than the Keynesian one”, thus taking tax away from the roots of growth rather than taxing the fruits.
Now Mr Chambers, and other business leaders, want the Chancellor to go further and cut stamp duty on the main market as well. They are right and it should be the priority for next year’s Budget.
Apart from keeping costs down for personal investors, dropping stamp duty will help with equity financing for SMEs. In another move to release funds, tax breaks on investments in social enterprises could release up to £480m into the growing sector.
Add in Osborne’s measures on apprenticeships, R&D credits for industry, the adoption of key parts of the Heseltine review and Vince Cable’s industrial strategy, as well as help for the housing market then he’s right to claim it was a Budget of aspiration; now comes the perspiration.
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