Expert analysis of the budget: what it means for small business and the self-employed

Expert analysis of the budget: what it means for small business and the self-employed

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[Music] good afternoon everyone i hope you're having an awesome virtual quickbooks connect as many of you will know the chancellor has today given a budget statement which finished only an hour or so ago measures announced in this statement include furlough being extended to september at the eighty percent rate but um for employees but employers will have to start contributing from the summer self-employed income tax support scheme now open for those who were not eligible previously as long as they filed their tax returns new restart grants to get the economy moving in our high streets open grants of up to 18 000 depending on which sector you're in a new recovery loan scheme for loans between 25 000 and 10 million replacing sibos and bbls until the end of the year business rates holidays until june and then a tapered implementation beyond that 5 reduced rate of vat for those who would apply to has been extended to september with an interim 12.5 percent rate coming in until april 2022 then in april 2023 corporation tax will go up to 25 to help pay for the recovery efforts and a lot lot more including many many documents published alongside the statement in this panel we'll dive into what's being said and what it means for all of you listening for those of you that don't know me i'm olson director of corporate affairs here at intuit quickbooks and i'm delighted to have with me such a fantastic panel of experts to dive in to today's statement we have lily aaron head of policy for europe at the association of chartered certified accounts or better known to me as the acca martin mctag the policy and advocacy chairman at the federation of small business and keaton maguana the ceo of enterprise labs and a former special advisor to the then prime minister david cameron now just before we get into the discussion i'd love to get your initial reaction and response on the budget if you listen to the budget live it'll be great to hear what you thought about it or just listening along on social media or what i said would be really really good to hear what you think the budget means for you and your business give it a score one terrible five couldn't be better in the survey that will pop up on your screen very soon and i'll announce the results as we go through this discussion now while you're submitting your rating let me bring in the panelists for their initial reaction marvin i'll start with you from the federation of small business what's your take on the budget and will it help small businesses in this very uncertain time thanks rob um i was struck by the three phases that he talked about one was survival the next was recovery and the final one was growth and i i was marking him on the first of all the survival ones and i got actually six ticks against the the things that we were looking for extension of furlough it was good to see that happening um extension of self-employment support to the newly self-employed the 3 000 apprenticeship grant the extension of grants that you mentioned in your intro the um the rates relief support and also the v80 but when it got into the recovery phase it was not so many ticks in the box i i like the uh recovery loan scheme however the the 25 000 start will cause a lot of problems for many of our businesses or our members um the corporation tax um was a as far as we were concerned was good that he is frozen the small business rate um ross carried back was very positive i think that's a really good move but i think that might be um the start of increasing taxes on small businesses at a later date the retention bonus that was odd that it was meant to come in straight after the um uh covet or the the job retention scheme had been phased out but it's meant no um it hasn't been announced in this budget there is nothing about the minimum income support grant for universal credit which is i think quite important and there's nothing about job creation costs so in other words if they'd done something about national insurance on new jobs i think that would have been a really good thing to have in the recovery phase and finally in the growth phase the super deduction sounds like a fabulous idea but not really sure exactly how it will work and we'll we'll have to look at the detail on that help to grow our management skills and digital skills that looks again like a really good idea but need the detail and then free ports you know it's one of those concepts that sound really really good but i want to see a lot more detail [Music] so that would be my summary okay excellent thank you martin so i think in short uh pleased with extending many of the programs available but certainly a lot more detail needed to really understand whether this going to kick start the economy going forward lily if i can turn to you uh really interested to to get your initial feedback but also it would be great to hear some of your members feedback if you've been able to collect it in this short period of time yeah yeah i think i mean i think overall the picture of what we've seen today will take a few more months to come together um we've been running sme tracker research every month through from april 2020 right up until now and invariably what we see as we come through lockdown cycles is that that sort of uncertainty around future planning and future plans you know financial plans for businesses um starts to clear up a little you know that planning kicks in as we know the end of that cycle so i think that will take a while to come together as we come out of lockdown and get a better picture of the business restart plans and financial pressures i think we knew going into this that this budget would be particularly fractured different sectors were impacted in different ways and so we're seeing a chance of trying to hedge the need for sort of public spending to get firms through this final stretch hopefully um and encourage that economic activity against the revenue revenue raising in the future needed to sort of fund the recovery so um onto the sort of measures i suppose corporation tax the rate was a surprise um as was the advance notice the advance notice was a uh welcome surprise the the rate was slightly higher than we expected to see it 25 but i think overall businesses are appreciative of the notice which we don't usually get in a budget but there is it is worth noting that having you know now two effective tax rates and as martin mentioned the sme rate is to be welcomed but having those two rates and alongside the extended loss carrybacks does introduce new layers of complexity into the tax system um self-employed grants i think that only to be welcomed it's effectively only leveling those new entrants those newly self-employed people up to the position they would have been in last year if they'd been able to claim despite the fact that they now will be able to show to claim that they had been they had their profits had been affected last year and again it was disappointing to see other excluded groups left out of uh support measures with two million company directors still receiving no income support um so when we were putting together our representations we asked members about the support schemes that would be most vital to support their recovery going forward and unsurprisingly income support and business rates relief did come out on top so i think on the first many will be relieved to see the continuation of support for 4.7 million jobs that have been furloughed and most crucially that tapering of support up to september allowing employers to gradually bring back you know wage liabilities after a couple of months after the reopening um so that should give them some runway to see a sort of healthier cash flow and the business rates tapers slightly less impressive so business is paying one-third of their bill from july 79 of our members did say that that was one of the most beneficial support schemes in enabling their businesses to survive particularly retail leisure and hospitality businesses that said that that was particularly important in helping them channel money into replenishing stock and bringing back in staff and retraining new staff so retraining old stuff and bringing in new stuff um so that's cautiously welcome but we have to remain aware aware that that long promised business rates overhaul also sort of hangs over us um i think in terms of feedback from members they did as i mentioned they did want to see more support for pscs and limited companies that have been unfairly hit and were perhaps excluded from support schemes on the basis of the hard edges of the eligibility rules as i mentioned scs the observing program opened up to the new entrance but again that with the caveat that you know it's not quite the same for those newly self-employed um i suppose we also have to sort of bear in mind that there was the hmrc announcement recently that there would be a wide range of tax consultations on the march 23rd uh in line with hmrc's 10-year strategy so we could be seeing a big overhaul of a couple of you know big tax areas including rates and perhaps the long sort of muted online sales tax as well so another thing to wait for there as well okay thank you so much lillian again sort of a mixed bag really pleased about the extension of some programs but definitely further opportunities to go further and faster for the government to really get the economy up and running kitan if i turn to to you be really great to to get your take but also uh one of the areas that you specialize in helping people start up their own business and really sort of getting going was there enough in the budget to really give uh individuals the confidence to to get out there and start up their own business so um if i start with the three three main themes that i could see through the through the budget one was obviously the continuation and of the support schemes through the pandemic the the other side is um protection on business uh there are there are a lot of schemes or or positions put into place to to help protect business where it is and the other side of it is the protection of jobs so um a 65 billion pound budget you've got so many different variation variants coming in it's good to see that they have extended the fellow scheme until uh till the end of september but my my concern will be what happens after the scheme closes i mean you you you highlighted this at the beginning of the the conversation the fact that on our employers need to start contributing from the summer um and i can start to see maybe a sharp increase in unemployment there as well they're looking at around a peak of 6.5 percent um categorically 150 000 jobs were lost during the pandemic and and there is a pendulum swing here of people that are now thinking that they may not return to work and it's an opportunity for them to go self-employed or start their own businesses is it the right time is there enough support structure in place at the moment well the the truth of this is is um startups are very it's very difficult to uh to sort of measure what's uh what support is going to be there for startups it's um you know are you starting it on your own are you creating a limited company have you got are you looking for investment you've got schemes still out there like the startup loan scheme for example that initiates up to 25 000 pounds per founder uh into the business so i think there are opportunities there um it's the confidence in people what i did like uh in russia's unique statement was the whole um help to growth um scheme that that they're bringing out and agreeing with what martin has said um it needs to be fleshed out a little bit more but a 90 subsidy on leadership management training and to help build better skills in running businesses and then there's the digital side of things but again over there on the digital side um he mentioned about a hundred thousand businesses could be impact or influenced by this and there is a 50 um discount scheme on on digital products and software so again it needs to be fleshed out a little bit if we could if we could see these these types of schemes uh mix and merge with um you know self-employment training uh perhaps uh route to startup training um you know you know in the last in the last sort of leadership there was the innovate uk growth vouchers for innovation and stuff like that these types of schemes if they're if they're all going to be combined together we could probably see um a good steady of startups that would come into the market space but for me it's really about confidence if you think about it the you know eight pound 91 on the minimum wage uh is now going to be set up from april the 20 pound a week for the universal credit there is all this kind of balance for the low income side of things as well so uh again agreeing to some of the stuff that he mentioned in regards to self-employment so so the outlook for me is there is opportunity but um this government needs to now inject confidence into people wanting to start up their business brilliant thank you and i think confidence is the key word right going forward how can we make sure that there's confidence in the economy to really get things kick-started the results of the survey are in thank you to all of the all of you who responded uh a really big response actually and the winner is four out of five so very happy with uh the budget and more than 50 percent of you gave it four out of five interestingly one percent gave it one out of five uh but only around about two percent gave it five out of five so definitely room for improvement as we go through this discussion i'll ask to do the poll again at the end and maybe with the information you hear in this discussion we'll see if anybody's minds has changed so please do ask your questions we want to make this as interactive as we can we do want to answer your questions that you have on the top of your mind i know there's a lot going on here's a great chance for three experts to really tackle those tough questions to get us started uh martin maybe if i i come to to you and i think you touched on it when you looked at uh good extending what's existing but not enough going forward what in your eyes was really missing in the budget that you'd have liked to have seen in it i think lilly mentioned a couple of them and uh i referred to one of them definitely the the job retention bonus i thought was a missed opportunity because you know this clearly that is part of the recovery phase when when businesses are um at that sort of tipping point do i keep somebody or is it am i just gonna have to shed them because i don't have the the sales and if that bonus would have got them over the edge and i think could have made a difference to quite a few businesses the other point that i think they missed is and it was referred to as well earlier is uh the the directors we we put forward uh scheme the diss scheme which we think answered most of their criticisms of previous attempts to solve this and yet they dodged it yet again and it seems that they've decided that that group of individuals are not going to get any help okay thank you so much martin and moving over to to you lily looking at the the important role that accountants play with small businesses did the budget match what they were hoping to get out of it what's the feedback from accountants when you're looking at what support small business really needs yeah i think i mean there's been a lot of feedback about um particular sectors and in i suppose in the last couple of weeks uh since we had boris's announcement on the roadmap to recovery there's been a lot of discussion about the sort of cliff edge of support schemes and um whether we might see a jump in liquidations uh we're coming together we're going to see the end of the moratorium and winding up petitions uh so some of our turnaround specialists have been sort of waving the flag and saying look something's going to happen here if we don't intervene small businesses need more support to plan i think on the other side of things just out sort of outside of the budget we've got a whole raft of things coming through that businesses need to deal with one of those being the off-page role working rules which we know are already having an effect on the way that the contract market operates um and the sort of the taxes applied to those those contractors and many of our members are sort of uh quite concerned that a flexible job market is obviously very important at the moment and they're particularly concerned about you know people folding their companies and moving out of the contract market okay excellent thank you for that uh kevin moving over to you uh a lot mentioned in the budget around skills uh programs including the restart program the kickstart program lifetime skills guarantee doubling payments for apprenticeships what was your take on the the skill section and is there enough in there to really start to build the skills for the future and build up that all-important resilience as we go forward um i do think there is fuel in the tank honestly with all the different um schemes that are out there i think what's important is that this government needs to learn from previous schemes and past schemes mistakes in terms of how these are delivered sometimes these training programs and skills contracts could become white elephants um you know we've had we've had the proverbial companies which i'm not going to name names in the past that have actually taken the money and not really delivered the services so it's it's important that you know things like the kickstart schemes the return to work the all of these schemes are actually moderate and delivered in a very structured manner um the private sector is engaged and involved so there are you know huge um huge training companies that can come in and start working but there are also more smaller agile or specific training organizations that can can come in and help bridge those kind of gaps and this is an opportunity for this government to come in and actually allow smaller businesses to to compete for those kind of contracts which can stimulate business for them it can increase the employability that these small businesses can create in terms of experts and trainers and deliverers um so i would like to see a lot more consultation on how the the funds can be drawn down and be making sure that there are programs out there that will actually deliver the results that this government is expecting with the funds that they've set aside for it excellent thank you and just staying with you caitlyn the help to grow scheme which was announced during the budget lots of questions coming in around it this scheme of course includes training for small businesses and up to a 50 percent discount or grant towards digital productivity tools we've seen a massive movement towards digital online way of working during the pandemic will this be part of or kind of really sort of cement that that movement that digital legacy from the current crisis um it's hard to say you see because um again it's it's i mean obviously rishi's only got a certain amount of time and the chancellor has a certain amount of time to actually put everything across he spoke very passionately about both um both sets of schemes um but again you know a program which will um help small businesses increase their digital skills is something that was uh being petitioned by mark prisk um alongside mark prisk back in 2012 as a part of a digital manifesto of how we we create more digital uh upskilled um businesses and individuals in the uk now i i feel that what they've done is they've actually just put this bolt on on digital right now um there is this whole thing about online tax that will come in the future um and you know how will that kind of play into particular things as well so i feel that it's a little bit short changed on the fact that what they are offering is 50 um discount on productivity digital productivity tools but there is a cap for up to 5k so again who qualifies what qualifies does a business that's doing over a quarter of a million qualify for for these services it needs to be as martin said before it needs to be fleshed out we need to understand a little bit more about what is the uh what is the emphasis or the result that they're trying to achieve behind this i think personally if they can get it right and more importantly if they can provide this type of level of support to the self-employed um who need those kind of digital skills as much as the early stage small business um i think it will be a very powerful thing because it would empower self-employed professionals to go out and procure more business that will bring more revenue more profit more tax so so i'm i'm still a little bit on the fence or there i'm a little bit nervous and i feel just i just got a gut feeling right now that this was just kind of bolted on at the end just to to buff up the the whole skills um skills agenda okay thank you you mentioned the the omission of an online tax which i know there's a lot of discussion about in the lead up to the budget coming over to you martin looking at restarting the high streets certainly no online tax envisaged anytime soon the restart grant program seems to help with startup costs but looking at the fact that the economy isn't predicted to get back to pre-covered levels until middle of next year is this enough to really get our high streets moving again no i don't think it is rob i mean i i think what you've got is a a massive change a fundamental change in the way retail is constructed in the uk uh this will go some way to ease the pain of anybody trying to make that transition but uh you you've only got to look at the data you know that this money will run out long before the economy starts to recover in the middle of next year so i think um there has to be a way in which uh government assists people to pivot away from conventional brick and mor bricks and mortar retailing and looks at other options i've seen businesses that have been forced to innovate over this covert period who've done really well so i think i think the encouragement to look at new ways of working is much more important than sort of trying to prolong the agony of what is for many uh a hopeless task can i can i just add something here if i may um it's six thousand pounds there's a 5 billion pound pot that's been put together they're expecting about 230 000 companies or businesses are going to be able to benefit from this it's 6 000 pounds if you're a hairdressing salon or if you're a retailer now most of these businesses have been shut for almost 12 months consecutively some of these businesses are single or two people owned businesses who perhaps were doing quite comfortable or quite quite comfortable pre-covert they've actually gone from having a a sizeable or a suitable profit to almost uh being 30 40 50 000 pounds in debt what i don't seem to understand is what will the 6 000 grant do to actually help them overcome this i think the money could have been put to better use in a slightly different way as as mike says maybe stimulus to to them on the fact of right this is how we get you digitized we will give you six thousand pounds worth of resources that gets you onto the internet and allows you to start trading in a particular different way i think just giving this money unwillingly is gonna as a grant i don't think a lot of people are going to value it they'll take it don't get me wrong i know a number of gym owners who will be happy to take 18 000 pounds from the government but it won't be spent correctly in the business and that's that's something that's really important i i can add something if possible um i think there's also a point around you know how long that liability continues for people are paying based on what a 2017 rebound revaluation rental values now rental values have undoubtedly dropped and the next revaluation i think we've had the announcement that isn't until until 2023 which means throughout this year and next year the businesses you know the current beliefs aside businesses at the top of that sort of pay scale will be paying against rental values that aren't realistic essentially until 2023 and it's a long-standing issue with the revaluation system but i think worth noting next year when those releases start to you know close off and taper off throughout 202 people would be paying on those higher rate rental values regardless of where the economic recovery is at at that stage as well so like katan says that cash injection will be welcomed by many um but i don't know if it's it's going to help long term you know fundamentally as well rob i think i think a lot of businesses are absolutely laboring under massive debts they've accumulated during the period that they've been shut down and the government really probably needs to fundamentally address that recapitalization problem they have shied away from it and i think they've delayed it by introducing six months pay-as-you-grow provisions but it's kicking it into the long grass it will come back to bite us all and just sticking on that modern how do we tackle it what do we what are what is the fsb encouraging the government to do really because i know that it is a looming problem yeah we put in a report um given we call it fighting chance and essentially what it was saying is that the government has really only got probably three options the first option would be to convert them into grants and accept that they weren't going to get them this money repaid second option would be probably to convert it into some sort of contingent tax liability so we would be paid back over a period of time student loan style maybe if um at some point if it can't be paid back through profits it would be written off and the third one that we suggested was it could be converted into employee shares so you could improve the look of the balance sheet by converting that debt into employee shares and that's those are options i feel i still think the government's got on the table that they could take up if they choose to brilliant thank you uh just going through lots of questions coming in thank you so much for sending them through one from the the accounting community maybe if i can come to you on it lily it seemed like quite a lot of fractured set of announcements will this be a boon for for accountants in terms of supporting clients or a nightmare to manage all of the changes slash opportunities uh good question um yeah i think actually something i hadn't uh sort of pointed out but has has been on our radar is the says grant being opened up to the newly self-employed while helpful um doesn't really recognize the fact that millions had trouble filing on time this year and that was recognized by hmrc who pushed back the penalty deadline so it's you know it's not a theory that's out there in the either it's something recognized by hmrc and they you know these people without any prior warning now have possibly missed their chance to claim the fourth and fifth sales grant um so yes and and partly you know those delayed filings were in part due to clients struggling to gather records to file on time potentially needing to file provisional returns but also the workload of accountants um and just the well-being and mental health sort of the pressures placed on accountants i mentioned our sme tracker earlier and we've consistently asked questions about the mental health and well-being of both clients and accountants and every time uh increased stress and inability to sleep tops the charts of business owners about 80 are reporting worst night's sleep consistently difficulty coping and running their business so just basic things like tax filing deadlines and compliance becoming a real struggle and prior to the self-assessment filing deadline we conducted a bit of a survey just to get an idea of how those issues were affecting the finding you know defiling deadline might be affected by those issues um and it was about 40 of practitioners were struggling to file on time just due to client mental health and well-being um in terms of other things coming up i mean we've you know there is a lot coming over the horizon as well as the ongoing support schemes which accountants will now be working overtime i've spoken to members that have taken less than a day off in the last year and they are really really struggling they're really under pressure but we've got the minimum wage increases coming through as i say new applications for reliefs and support schemes and a massive one i'll keep mentioning it that the ir35 of payroll working reforms which will for some be just a raft of uh determinations for end clients so yeah really i mean for the accounting community uh you know acc is here to continue to support them but it's a really stressful period a very long period couple of years for accountants and they are really working flat out yeah and maybe if i can plagiarize the question and pass it over to martin then keaton from a small business perspective lots being announced obviously there's a lot to take in when there's changes like this good or bad does it cause a significant amount of disruption for small businesses yeah absolutely rob i mean it it struck me that um you know the pay as you grow announcement that was made about being able to switch from five years to ten years and various changes in in the arrangements for those bounce back loans there is a really high percentage of people with bounce back loans who have no idea that applies to them and some people with sibles loans who are going in and asking whether they can delay and assuming it's automatic so you know we assume because we're maybe uh steeped in all this detail from budgets that everybody else is picking this up i would i would wager there aren't much more than 10 of my members are actually even watching the budget let alone absorbing it anything anything else to add in terms of the difficulty of translating what comes out from from budgets for small businesses absolutely uh i concur with this i mean i think obviously the language in which it comes in um a lot of small business owners won't really understand the implications and impact which is why we need panels like this to help kind of demystify and kind of get a little bit more core understanding but i just want to pick up on a little bit like on what martin was saying around the um things like the bounce-back loans it's predicted that almost 40 billion of that um that fund is going to be have to be written off primarily because of the way in which it was um it was offered into the market there was this whole pressure to get money into into into small businesses uh you know the fact that you could go to your business bank and in three minutes put a loan application in you don't have to put any forms of figures uh or any justification of documentation um of proof of your um your revenue and you were you could get you could withdraw almost 50 000.

it opened up this whole web of or or can of worms with regards to how that money is going to be spent in businesses you know i had the stories particularly around the summer last year where people were saying i'm going to buy a new car i'm going to get my house extension done all these kind of things now one of the things that we put forward as a as a as a private group was perhaps put a filter in that works alongside the banks that are actually providing these loans the banks are protected at the end of the day you know 100 percent guarantee that if the loan isn't repaid um it's not going to fall on the bank's knees what we said is why don't we put in some form of stage gate where we can help the individual understand or the business understand how they're going to spend that money if they need to spend that money or if it's to be harvested away now you've got this whole thing situation in between that that they said right you could actually have an extension on your uh an increase in your loan so if you hadn't taken the full amount you can take the remaining amount now so you can have two sets of bounce back loans now they're bringing in this this this whole sort of pay as you grow scheme um which just tells me that there isn't any there isn't much confidence in in them in the government actually getting all this money back um and and that goes down to this whole thing of right at the beginning is that if they prepared this and structured it and in a particular way it would have been much much more effective and much much more confident in the return um of these kind of funds and this is what comes back to this whole thing of where i say that whether it's training skills a scheme whether it's the grants whether it's a loan each government that i work with or i have worked with along these kind of policies and and schemes they just fall back to the same mistake a lack of infrastructure or structure at the beginning to allow people to actually understand what they're getting committed into what their exposures are and what potential is right at the beginning will be so more education and more consultation before actually jumping on and giving all of these kind of rewards will make for a much much more productive result um at the end brilliant thank you ketan i know we've touched on it already in this discussion but there are a lot of questions coming in around directors contractors freelancers who have simply not been covered who have been excluded from a lot of the government schemes so far martin maybe if i come to you i know that the fsb have a number of ideas around how best to support this community can you share them with us uh the question here say should they be reported but then also another question says why should directors be reported if they opt out of nics by playing themselves in dividends so two questions from both sides of the spectrum yeah i mean i i think that last part of the question you know where people feel that there's some kind of tax dollars um is a regular part of the um the theme that informs the way government looks at some of this they regard people paying themselves and dividends and somehow not fulfilling their obligations to the taxpayer however the the evidence we have is that very large numbers of these sole directors are on relatively modest salaries including their dividend payments so the director's income support scheme that we propose is modeled on on sales it's modeled on the sort of 50 000 pound limit on profits that you could draw against and i we could not see anything in that proposal that exposed the treasury any more than it had been to the same scheme and yet they have steadfastly refused to look at it as a as a a realistic alternative so i i can't help but conclude at this large late stage that they're just not going to look at this group it's also worth noting that within the director's income support scheme which we created alongside the fsb as well and forgotten limited that though that that grant would have been taxable through cooperation tax as well so hmrc would have received at least 19 of those grants back through um so i think this perception that you know is it's um benefiting you know the tax dodging community is is slightly sort of off kill to that i i kind of concur with this i think it's a very ignorant comment and and position that's posi played i as a director of a company myself i can't furlough myself because then i'm not actively working so i can't and even if i did i'm only getting eighty percent of a very small salary because i i too actually draw on the on the dividends um but all of that goes on to your self-assessment as well so you know at the end of the day if you are earning over the threshold you are still paying your tax um i just think it's the way in which it's positioned is i wouldn't say it's usually unfair but it it's creating it's creating this ignorance to the fact that directors of companies are kind of sitting on pots of money which means that they can they can kind of see themselves through any of these kind of choppy waters um when actually this this is probably one of the biggest um issues that are affecting the mental well-being of directors it's it's it's not just that that they don't feel that they're supported they're just it's the question as a director is how do i navigate myself through this when there isn't anything else that i can sort of jump up and and and and grab basically along along this way so i mean i just bring it back to an idea idea of these six thousand pounds or eighteen thousand pound grants are going to come the owners of the businesses will think well this is my this is my retribution this is me now as the owner of the business is going to take that money because i never got anything from from the government in the first place so you know there's a rod for your own back um i say really i think it's also a question of proportionality you know wherever you stand on the tax advantage of being an incorporated limited company um you know what is that proportional to the lack of support these people have received and i mentioned the well-being a lot of that a lot of that feedback comes through from that community and like ketan says my heart really goes out to them because it's been it's been a long year um so yeah regardless i i i sort of leave it at that but with it you know regardless of the tax advantage that they may have there uh you know that they would use some level of support yeah i think it's unequivocal from this panel that directors contractors freelancers have been forgotten and they shouldn't have so i hope if the government is listening but you heard that loud and clear just there uh next question uh looking at the the leveling up agenda uh maybe if i come to you because i know martin you're based up in the the north so it'd be great to get a take from you uh from the beginning of today there's a leveling up fund that has now opened there's also a new treasury economic campus opened up in darlington uh will this get the northern economy moving will it start to tackle that north-south divide that we hear so much about well i don't know about the northern economy but seeing i'm a resident of darlington i'm i'm well and truly behind this scheme uh it can't do anything but good for my town but in in terms of the greater uh impact on the north then i think there's a massive amount that that needs to fill that gap i know that uh rishi sanak has put a lot of faith in um freeport and he certainly placed several of the free ports in the north i think out of the eight announced today i think hall and t side was certainly liverpool i think was the other one that jumped out to me they are they could potentially make a big difference but there's there's always the the fear that it's actually just displacing businesses from close by so i i think the jury's out on three ports i hope his fate in them is rewarded and that we can see a real improvement in the economy in in places like t-side brilliant look if i can quickly get your reactions on one of the announcements today we don't have much detail but the super deduction announcement where a company invests uh in r d or uh new new tools i think with some of the wording in it you can get up to 130 percent back what's your initial reactions to it maybe if i come to ketan first um i think this was just put in as a sweetener for the for the fact that you know corporation tax is going up to 25 um the the truth of it is is it's not really gonna help a lot of small business um so yeah if you're deciding to build a football stadium in in part of the country you can get the government or the treasury to pay you for it that's that's the way i looked at this uh i don't think there's a lot of small businesses out there that are going to be building football stadiums per se so yes but whilst there is this element of r d and how may how many small companies really um get tax credits on on r d it could it could pose a really good opportunity with um you know in the investor market so those that are looking to invest in new technology where there is r d that there's a strong potential but for me i'm going to be a bit skeptical of this i think it was just put in as a sweetener to to make you know to take the taste away from that 25 increase of corporation tax lilly is it any more than a sweetener um i think the interest the timing's interesting isn't it that you know we've got this for the next uh two years just as corporation tax comes back in i had some members um comment that they thought you know this could be used to spur foreign investment in with investment and you know that's great but then as soon as the ct height comes back in it you could see that drop there so we could be looking at a bit of a rollercoaster ride but the other thing to remember is businesses themselves have seen you know many have seen a year and more of very low turnover and income um so they might see it might be difficult to make those big investments and reap the rewards of that scheme um but maybe an outlook to revisit in six months to a year see if they're faring any better a year probably martin anything else to to add yeah on the customers i am to this feeling that i am much less cynical than my two other panelists i i feel like this has got the potential to make quite a big difference um we have got a very poor treatment of investment um you know from a tax point of view i think uh the chancellor made the point that we were 30th out of the group of 35 top industrial nations and clearly there is room for improvement and and he believes that this change will push us to the top of that particular table now you know from from the point of view of a lot of them the businesses i represent um if they've got balance sheets that are completely loaded down with debt i don't think they're in a position to invest in their businesses right now i think that's the problem needs fixing first and then tax incentives to invest in your business might well reap rewards okay well it's taken me 46 minutes but i do think that we have a difference of opinion there's time on the panel so i'm pleased we we got to it uh look just coming into the the final few minutes of the the session uh one thing that's always important from a budget and i'm sure the chancellor thought long and hard about it is well what will be the reactions in the newspapers tomorrow so a little bit of a test a little bit of a challenge uh what is your prediction as to how the newspapers will trail today's budget announcement lily maybe if i can start with you you're testing me i used to be a pr i should know um i think i mean based on uh you know what we've been hearing for the last couple of weeks the issues popping the business agenda have got to be income support schemes and business rates um i possibly expect to see some comment around how the business rates uh relief tapering didn't go quite as far as the furlough schemes uh clearly those sort of post lockdown being lifted um runway so those schemes extending past lockdown being lifted were given to allow businesses to recover some of that those income flows on the balance sheet before they started you know picking back up those liabilities and uh you know as i say rates didn't go quite so far so those have got to be the top two for me i think brilliant martin your prediction um well his press has been really good up until now hasn't it because he sort of found the money tree and he's been dishing out the cash and it and it's not hard to get great press when you're doing that i think he had the real risk that um he could have got a bad reaction to this budget if he'd been too uh scrooge-like and he seems to have found the sort of goldilocks zone where he's not being he's he's pushed back the really nasty decisions back a couple of years and he and he's done enough in the short term to keep people relatively happy so i think it's quite a skillful budget and i think that'll be if i was guessing i'd say that's broadly what he'll get in the papers okay kitten yeah i agree with both um with lillian with martin here i think you know i go back to what i was saying at the top of the top of the hour um you know support support schemes are being extended so it's the continual continuation of the support through the pandemic you know into into our recovery road protecting businesses protecting jobs dare i say it hashtag sunac for pm that's maybe kind of the the future lines that they probably will take down i think they he's played he's played the best cards that he can and with what he's been dealt with he's you know he's pushed back some of these um topical agenda topical pieces to uh to the future and really what he's done is he's given the the nation um some real short-term answers uh and i would say a little bit of comfort and confidence that you know to where they're going so i think the press will pick up on the fact that you know it's all the continuation of furlough the uh the the bounce-back schemes etc everything's there um you know in terms of we're not taking it away yet we are we're then slowly bringing in these kind of tax rises to ensure that we can start to recover uh around that debt and it's it's really he he you know he's put that um that right foot forward about it's all about people it's all about jobs it's all about training it's all about businesses so i don't think he can do wrong right now thanks kitan wow somebody's saying the chancellor can't do anything wrong who would think we'd end up in a world where we were saying these sort of things uh like i i we we've had 50 minutes of discussion i hope it's been really interesting i hope you found it informative what i'd love to do now is just run another poll it will flick up on your screen the same as the last one and i'd love to hear if your opinions change so again the question will be the same uh what do you think the impact of the budget will have on you and your business one being terrible five being beyond all expectations please do vote and we'll see if this discussion uh which is essentially it's still a very short period of time since the budget took place but maybe this is has given you a few different thoughts or ideas and let's see if your opinion has changed and once we have those survey results coming through uh a final question to to each of the panelists uh and i'll start with martin here uh and the question would be the same for for all of you uh it's been a really really difficult 12 months we know that small businesses have had it really really tough accountants have had it tough uh many of the issues that they faced before the pandemic have essentially been magnified and then they've had on top of that this very very difficult very fast changing uncertain environment what would be your message to the small businesses and accountants listening live now well it's very easy for me to give advice but i think anybody that's gone through the last 12 months uh needs plaudits more than advice i mean their bravery their tenacity to cling on in the face of what must have seen an absolutely hopeless task is is credit to them all and i just hope and i think the government does appreciate those efforts and has put the money into trying to support them i know that there are a lot of businesses that are in this sort of supply chain to retail hospitality and leisure that have been forgotten and i just hope that they can get through to the summer and hopefully cash in on a well-deserved good uh good period brilliant and over to you lily yeah i think just to echo what martin said and you know we've heard from members throughout the pandemic and it's been a really difficult time both for clients and um you know all of our members uh and they've been you know really great at sending in requests for insight we've been able to send regular intelligence reports to government which we hope has been a well we know has been able to help design some of the schemes we've got some direct feedback that you know feedback from the accountants directly helped design the bounce back loan scheme so we can never underestimate their importance and the oversight that accountants have you know whether practitioner or in-house or public sector anywhere um so i suppose to those accountants on the call a big thank you from me um but also i suppose for anyone looking for support going forward if you have one speech for professional body but i'd just like to flag a really great initiative that's out there called the leave no business behind campaign you might be able to find details on the acca website because we're a partner but there's some really good resources on there to help you triage your clients depending on you know their outlook now um really you know really good resources to prompt conversations with them i know you'll be under a lot of pressure and there'll be a lot to do so that's the people that are able to um and i suppose just a final comment because martin's made me feel very sour but um i think we've had some really good feedback from you for the accountants out there we've had some really good feedback on the um carry back so it's been a really important measure you know lost carry back it's been a really important measure and that grants some immediate sort of cash flow relief for those businesses as well so um you know look into those positive those points of light brilliant great insight great insight thank you kitan look i want um i want everyone out there to remember we're a nation of uh micro and small businesses this is the you know we are the foundation of this economy we are the the people that uh build businesses that build jobs um everything yes some some of us have been uh dealt some poor cards some of us have been forgotten and not allowed you know to come to the party but if you've going on what martin has said you know if you've been able to survive through the year and continue fighting you know put a little bit more in your reserve tank we are now in the pendulum swing from survive revive to thrive so just keep going and um and we'll see brighter days brilliant well said now the results of the latest survey have come in uh quite interesting actually so you'll recall that it was about fifty percent gave it four out of five uh after listening to the panel that fifty percent has now gone up to 55 and a half percent think it was four out of five but interestingly nobody uh or at least it hasn't made it to a percentage point has given it one out of five so definitely there's been an up leveling at the bottom uh and an up leveling at the top nearly seven percent give this budget five out of five almost perfection uh so there we go some some good news uh at the end of the the session as well look can i just start to to close out by thanking all of the panelists i appreciate that you had about an hour's notice from the chancellor leaving the dispatch box to being thrown in front of a very large audience at quickbooks connect so thank you for turning it around so quickly uh and really sort of drilling down on lots of those key themes that came out of the budget for those of you who are listening live please don't go far away we do have more quickbooks connect coming up and we have our connectfast which includes music and magic so lots more to stay around for thank you so much for everybody joining and please do stay safe bye [Music]

2021-03-08 15:44

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