Budget 2013: Deliver targeted support for firms with export potential

 

As part of a series of blogs previewing Budget 2013, Moore and Smalley partner Damian Walmsley offers his thoughts on what the chancellor could do to help businesses that trade internationally.

 

The main thing for the chancellor to get right on this occasion is to be convincing. Following last year’s uncertainty, it mustn’t appear rushed or haphazard.

 

He has looked rather foolish after the amount of back tracking he has had to do on VAT on caravans and the pasty tax, and it sometimes looks as though an idea comes up at the end and then he needs to find the funds to pay for it.

 

There is all the more danger of this happening this time around because of political posturing as we move towards the final third of the government’s term and political opponents look to exploit any signs of cracks in the coalition.

 

From an international trade point of view, I’d like to see the chancellor encourage more businesses to consider selling overseas and so he needs to come up with incentives to assist businesses with export potential. This is critical given the state of the UK economy.

 

This could involve making improvements to initiatives like the export enterprise finance guarantee scheme, which has only been used by a handful of businesses according to recent figures, or by ensuring regional growth money is better targeted at those businesses that can deliver growth and create jobs.

 

He also needs to encourage more international businesses to trade over here and pay UK tax rather than overseas.

 

We kind of already know what will happen next year as he has already announced many of the measures that will take effect, either last year or in the Autumn Statement, so a lot of what he will announce will be for 2014/15.