Budget 2012 - What Should George Osborne Do?

The Huffington Post UK  |  Posted: Updated: 21/03/2012 11:24

Fiona Cuthbertson, Managing Director, Keystone Consulting

This budget has to be about new businesses and private sector jobs. Because of redundancies, public sector cuts and many private sector firms imposing a recruitment freeze, more people are starting their own businesses. I’m looking for some really strong measures to help entrepreneurs.

When I started Keystone Consulting I had support from my husband and savings to fall back on – a good thing as currently there is very little help during that key initial stage. With this in mind, it strikes me as important that the Government encourages business development by not immediately stopping all help when someone sets up on their own. It would have been useful to have some sort of benefit to help me through the initial stages – like the old Enterprise Allowance Scheme.

It would also be nice to see some help for people who are already running their small businesses. I’d like to see an extension to the VAT Flat Rate Scheme for small businesses beyond the current £150,000 turnover limit.

The Government is concentrating on reducing the cost of borrowing, which is important, but this does assume the businesses are started in the first place. More help is needed earlier to ensure people have the courage to develop their business ideas.

Having eaten into savings to start the business, we’re rebuilding them now. I would like to see help for savers, as they should not be punished for having been prudent even when times were good. With this in mind, an increase in the ISA allowance would mean more savings and more investment.

Like everyone, I’d like to see the Personal Income Tax Allowance lifted to £10,000 as quickly as possible.

I am currently expecting my first child. Women are most likely to ‘fill the gap’ left by state services by caring for children. It is important they are given some support in their endeavours. In addition, women with partners who fall into the high income tax bracket, but don’t work will ‘pay’ twice by losing their child benefit because it is currently used as a method of establishing pension entitlements. Without the child benefit, 1.8 million mothers will have their pension entitlements reduced.

In my mind, it’s all about fairness. Checks and balances. After all, it’s a lack of balance that means we have to make such hard decisions in the first place.

See the rest of our panel:

  • Fiona Cuthbertson, Keystone Consulting

  • Geraldine Bedell, Editor, Gransnet

  • Mark Daniels, Pub Landlord

  • Ros Altmann, Chief Executive, SAGA

  • Mark Corcoran-Lettice, unemployed graduate