27th April 2009

Uninspired? Yes, that is probably how I feel about Alastair Darlings Budget last week. There was very little of note there for businesses (that we did not already know about) and certainly as I see it not that much that was going to make a real difference.

Without wishing to make any political comment (no time for that stuff!) it does seem that this Government really does not understand what businesses need (especially smaller ones) to help them through this period. The one thing of note that is of interest though is the new top up Trade Credit Insurance scheme - but unless I am missing something, yet again there seems to be very little details available as to how this will work. Having clients that have been very negatively impacted by the virtual closure of the credit insurance market, this could be of some help - if only we could understand how!!

One very interesting part of the complete budget report published by HM Treasury though, was information about how the Business Payment Support Service has been operating. This is the one thing that the Government has done so far that has really had a great impact. In effect this is giving short-term overdrafts to businesses without the need for bags of bureaucracy. A brilliant move. According to the HM Treasury Budget Report up to 19 April 2009 100,000 businesses had used this service and £2 billion of tax had been deferred through payment plans. With interest rates at only 2.5% now this is certainly worth looking at.

I wish we could say the same for all the other schemes that have been dreamt up - most of which seem to be having very little impact so far.

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