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Claire’s Column – The Budget: A Time For Reform

Published on: 19 Mar, 2014
Updated on: 20 Mar, 2014

In this regular column – a must-read for all those interested in Guildford business – Claire Dee discusses the Chancellor’s Budget.

Claire Dee

Claire Dee

Another March, and another Budget speech from the Chancellor.

In my 20-plus years in the communications profession – from journalist through to strategist – I have been involved in more Budget projects and campaigns than I care to count. And being a news junkie and follower of all things topical, I consume the pre-speech predictions and post-speech analysis with a hearty appetite.

Nothing really changes year-on-year, with the overall menu being a predictable mix of growth forecasts, surplus and deficit dilemmas, cuts on taxes and spending, introducing something new and removing something old, and so on…

This year, however, one pre-Budget comment did catch my eye for its refreshing uniqueness: ‘2014 Budget should be the last in its current format’.

According to the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), the Budget has moved beyond its original purpose creating uncertainty for businesses and households. It claims: “For too long we have seen the desire for politicians to claim good headlines trump potentially important yet unpopular policies.”

Interesting. And I’m inclined to agree.

The IEA goes on to recommend that the current all-encompassing headline-grabbing Budget – delivered by the Chancellor in the form of a lengthy speech lasting around an hour – is replaced with a short statement outlining the changes to tax rates, allowances and borrowing required to meet public spending obligations. Which, as I understand it, was what it was originally intended to do anyway.

For now, for Surrey businesses and households keen to know how today’s Budget speech from Chancellor George Osborne will affect them, here’s a snapshot:

More focus and funding on exports, which the Guildford business community is already big on supported by the likes of Surrey Chambers of Commerce.

Further cuts and discounts to business rates and capital allowances.

Investment in the science, technology and engineering sector including apprenticeships which, I am sure, will be good news for companies based at the Surrey Research Park in Guildford.

The planned fuel duty rise in September cancelled.

A new 12-sided £1 coin to be introduced in 2017 to combat forgery.

Extensive housing plans in the South East, including the brand new much mooted Ebbsfleet garden city in Kent.

And for the bingo-playing, beer-supping among us, it will be a cheaper night out with bingo duty halved from 20% to 10% and beer duty cut by 1p a pint. That’s tomorrow’s newspaper headlines sorted then…

For further information on the 2014 Budget visit

Claire Dee runs her own communications consultancy near Guildford and is an active member of the local business community including sitting on the Surrey Chambers of Commerce Council. To learn more visit

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Responses to Claire’s Column – The Budget: A Time For Reform

  1. Bernard Parke Reply

    March 20, 2014 at 9:01 am

    A penny a pint off of the price of beer and better terms for bingo players !

    If this is thought to be an opiate for the masses, he cannot be serious !

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