A bit later than expected, the Chancellor of the Exchequer started to deliver his Autumn Statement.
Kicking off with the usual summary of the state of the economy he seems to be operating under the illusion that the British economy is healing and we are making progress.
Is he really on our side – as he claims?
Spending many minutes on a lot of statistics that most people will not be interested in, the Chancellor eventually moved onto the tax changes that impact the normal person in the street – those who are trying to make ends meet and keep their heads above water.
Small business owners are a large part of the UK working population; many finding themselves in a position of going self-employed, freelancing or risking it all by starting a business after being made redundant or as a second income whilst salaries have stagnated over the last few years.
The number of self-employed university graduates is up 46% in just six years and latest statistics show some 17% of the working population now being self employed.
Helping just the big companies yet again
Of course, there were the usual tax reduction measures for the really big companies such as reducing the rate of corporation tax for companies with profits of more than £300,000 to 21% and an increase in the tax benefits for those able to invest anything up to £250,000 in new plant and equipment.
How many real businesses benefit?
Based on my years of experience with our clients base of micro businesses known as “one-man bands” there was nothing much to celebrate.
Whilst he talked a lot about being fair, Osborne really missed a trick to give a helping hand to those who get off their backsides and earn a living by their own efforts – the real UK businesses; 4 million of them to be precise.
What he could have done
Many a tax break could have been offered eg a reduction in the small companies rate of corporation tax from 20% to 19% or a tax-free allowance of say £5,000 in the first year of trading.
I am not the Chancellor and do not have his team of advisers to work out what are the best breaks that could have been offered. All I know is that failing to provide anything aimed at real UK Businesses is just plain wrong.
A trick missed to easily boost the UK economy, cut the jobless numbers and those claiming benefits and provide a solid foundation for future entrepreneurialism in the UK – large companies all start somewhere don’t they?
Using 20 years' experience spent working at some of the UK's leading businesses, award-winning chartered accountant Elaine Clark is the founder and managing director of www.cheapaccounting.co.uk.