The headlines following this week's Budget understandably focused on pensions and savings, with significant proposals announced that will fundamentally change the way people save in the UK. It was hailed by many as the biggest pensions shake-up for a generation, and so it is not surprising that this was the focus of debate in the immediate aftermath.
But look beyond these mammoth headlines and there are a range of proposals that paint an overtly positive picture for the UK as a place to invest. Attracting international investment into the UK while building an export-led economy has been at the heart of the Chancellor's plan since this Government took office, and while not the headline attraction yesterday there can be no doubt that this motif is very much alive and kicking.
The increase in the Annual Investment Allowance, the amount a business is allowed to invest tax free in capital expenditure, from £250,000 to £500,000; the doubling of the UK Export Finance Initiative to £3 billion; and the cutting of the interest rate on export finance loans to the minimum allowed by law are just some of the measures that will promote investment into UK industries from overseas. And these measures are all in addition to the already known reduction in corporation tax to 21 per cent from 1 April. This swathe of measures makes inward investment a virtual no-brainer for many multinationals.
In Jersey we see first-hand the appetite for investment into Britain. According to a report by Capital Economics last year, £1/2 trillion of foreign investment into the UK came through Jersey, and so the Chancellor's boost for those seeking to invest is welcome news for both Britain and Jersey alike.
Companies and individuals based abroad are primarily looking for three things: stability, confidence and a positive regulatory backdrop against which to invest. As business confidence in the UK continues to grow and recovery of the global economy continues more widely, the UK's prospects remain strong and, with such close economic linkages, this is certainly positive news for Jersey.
While the pensions and savings proposals unveiled by the Chancellor this week have understandably dominated the column inches, the measures announced that continue the Government's approach of promoting inward investment and exports should not be forgotten.
Ultimately, this is a positive standpoint from which the UK's continued recovery will be built. The appetite from global investors continues to grow. While many now see the Eurozone as stabilising, the UK remains a safe harbour for investors across the world.