The Autumn Budget and You

ended 19. October 2021

This lunchtime, Rishi Sunak will deliver the Autumn Budget. We asked a selection of small business owners around the UK what they would like to see announced by the Chancellor. Their responses are below.

18 responses from the Newspage community

"Budgets are always tricky affairs, however that's mainly because politicians need to remain elected rather than do what's in people's best interests. If I could influence Rishi in any way, I'd ask for three things to be included in this Budget. Firstly, scrap the national insurance hike and replace it by bringing capital gains tax in line with income tax rates. Secondly, replace council tax and stamp duty land tax with a single land value tax collected centrally and then distributed equally according to the needs of local authorities and the number of constituents. Finally, replace the minimum wage with the real living wage and allow it to be set by the living wage foundation, separate from governmental interference to prevent it being a political football."
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"I'd like to see a cut to VAT, particularly on energy bills this winter. VAT is a regressive tax that takes no account of income and therefore hits the poorest hardest."
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"We need significant tax incentives for businesses to invest in technology to boost the UK's productivity to cope with the labour shortages we are experiencing and meet Boris's goal of a high-wage, high-skill Britain."
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"We would love to see simplification of pensions. It may sound boring but will impact 99% of all workers. The lifetime allowance has become a huge disincentive that penalises pension savers, so potentially removing this while introducing a flat rate of tax relief for pension contributions would be a powerful statement from the Treasury."
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"I would like, but certainly do not expect, to see increases in the Pensions Lifetime Allowance and Inheritance Tax Nil Rate Band. Hard-working families who try and take care of themselves and not rely on the Government are often punished for doing so and I would like to see that change."
"I want to see one thing in the Budget: the abolition, replacement or radical reform of business rates. I can't think of a single thing that penalises investment in premises and undermines local business as much as having to pay a fortune in business rates for sweet FA as a return in most cases. This would also level the playing field with the huge internet behemoths like Amazon, who don't contribute much in tax anyway as a percentage of the income they siphon from the economy."
"Come on Rishi you're the man, level up benefits for the Universal Credit clan. Raise benefits payments to avoid hardship and further poverty to family carers, pensioners and the disabled."
"There would be no complaints from most people if Stamp Duty Land Tax was scrapped."
"I would like to see wage capping for high earners, especially footballers and MPs. No one needs to earn over £80,000 per year. Instead the money saved by this wage capping would be used to level up lower paid employees."
"A key principle of good taxation is it should be non-distortionary. As we saw from the huge impact on the housing market caused by its partial suspension or 'holiday' recently, stamp duty is anything but. Rishi Sunak should look at the lessons to be learned from the stamp duty holiday and instigate serious, sustainable reform on this highly distortionary, regressive tax. Replacing it with a form of capital gains tax on sales of main residences should not be ruled out."
Millions of people were excluded from the government's financial support packages during COVID (such as self-employed and people who are paid via their limited company), so we urgently some redress so that those who fell between the cracks can start to piece together a living. We also need tax incentives for businesses, such as reduced corporation tax or business rates, so that they have some chance of prospering post-COVID and duly repaying the various government loans that many relied on as "support" during the pandemic.
"I'd love to hear a coherent plan on developing housing for first-time buyers, especially solo buyers looking to buy in a city centre. Every new block of apartments around me that goes up seems to be shiny new student-only accommodation. Where are all these graduates supposed to live once they leave Uni?"
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"I would love to see an additional, highly punitive tax for anyone that contributes to the panic buying of Christmas turkeys."
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"I'd like to see a fund to rejuvenate the high street. There are so many big buildings lying empty after the loss of BHS and the Arcadia Group. Funds could be channeled to open these to allow cooperatives of small businesses to use them or facilitate the presence of pop-ups. The Government also needs to get stricter on business landlords who are just letting these sit empty because they’re expecting rent rates of 20 years ago."
"We need measures to support the redevelopment of traditional High Streets to ensure they regain their importance to the local community and contribute to local employment."
"I'd like to see the Chancellor implement the recommendations from the Office of Tax Simplification and the All-Party Parliamentary Group regarding the reform of Inheritance Tax. The Residence Nil-Rate Band allowance ought to be scrapped, as the qualification criteria are far too complicated. It would be much simpler to apply the same allowance (now £175,000) to the main Nil-Rate Band, thereby giving everyone a £500,000 Nil-Rate Band. The additional £175,000 could even be limited to use on death only, so couldn't be used for lifetime gifts. Bearing in mind the Nil-Rate Band hasn't increased since 2009 (and the Chancellor announced in his last Budget that the main Nil-Rate Band and Residence Nil-Rate Band were going to remain frozen at £325,000 and £175,000 respectively until 6th April 2026), making the tax easier to calculate would make sense. Plus, had the Nil-Rate Band been increasing with inflation since 2009, it would be at circa £500,000 now anyway." I'd also suggest scrapping the proposed National Insurance increase and instead putting a penny or two on Higher and Additional Rate Income Tax, that way the wealthier in society are burdening more of the costs of 'building back better' after the pandemic. Such a move would clearly be at odds with what the Conservative Party set out in their election manifesto, but that was written pre-pandemic when the world was a very different place. We need brave, justifiable, decisions by our Government and Parliament, for the benefit of our recovery, rather than them simply focusing on trying to get re-elected in a few years time.
"Wouldn’t it be brilliant if the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, had an epiphany after a long night penning the Autumn Budget? Before the ink dries, he tears up the chapter in his policy book that has penalised limited company directors (small business owners not unlike Mum Sunak), highly skilled UK freelancers and contractors (like the ones that helped build his father-in-law’s billion dollar IT business, Infosys). "His first announcement will be to abolish IR35 making blanket bans on PSC contractors a thing of the past, so too will higher NI taxes for the self-employed. That is, unless they receive something in return and there is no repeat of the ExcludedUK debacle. The higher dividend tax on business owners will also be scrapped or reduced and Making Tax Digital software providers will have prices capped so people don’t go into debt for simply filing their taxes. "It all comes true. I can picture the glossy Vanity Fair cover story now. Hoody, pressed jeans and the countenance of a clear conscience."
"I’d like to see more efficient targeting of tax collection from businesses taking money out of our economy like Google, Amazon and Facebook. If we’re all to pay for the pandemic through the huge tax hikes already on the table, let’s get the big boys paying a fairer share to fund all the plans to reduce the deficits we’ve accrued over the past 18 months."