Simplicity's reaction: Budget 2014 - Reasons to be cheerful and go for growth!

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Highlights

  • GDP forecast to grow by 2.7% this year, with more rises in subsequent years, and reduction in national deficit – great to see continual growth for several years to come
  • Celebrations for pensioners with more freedom – good to see older savers having greater access to their hard earned money
  • Start-up support – a great opportunity to support the lifeline of our economy
  • Good news for recruiters specialising in oil and gas sectors thanks to tax allowance

This year’s Budget didn’t provide many drastic changes – we’ll wait to see what next year’s announcement brings ahead of the general election – but it was focused on growth, saving and the older generation. The budget was designed to encourage and stimulate without over promising as sometimes happens with a Government with their eyes on re-election.

Growth

Of course the highlight was the announcement about the GDP growth forecasts for the next few years and the OBR’s prediction of a small surplus by 2018-19 after saying goodbye to the deficit, which has been hanging over our heads for far too long. We’ve seen an increase over the past year in the number of recruitment agencies requiring support with funding and back office management, so they can take on more clients and workers, so this is not a surprise to us, but confirmation that our economy is finally emerging from the darkness of austerity. The recruitment sector must take advantage of the growing economy and continue to work hard to support clients and workers.

Pensions

The most radical and unexpected news was the announcement regarding pensioners’ pension pots. Anything that encourages more people to save their money is a positive, which is boosted by the auto-enrolment process, helping even more money to be saved, but I suspect this is one area where the Chancellor is attempting to secure the ballot box support from older voters ahead of 2015.

SME growth, apprenticeships and industry funding

SMEs have once again been allocated some significant support to encourage more growth, which is fantastic to see, as they’re at the heart of our business community, making up the vast majority of businesses in the UK. A funding packing for an extra 100,000 apprenticeships over the next two years is great for SMEs and young people alike to provide employment and develop much needed skills.

SMEs will also have more incentive to expand their businesses, thanks to the 100% tax relief in year one on investment in plant and machinery up to £500,000 – great for the manufacturing and industrial sectors – in addition to the doubling of the Annual Investment Allowance. The oil and gas market continues to provide huge opportunities for the recruitment sector, particularly following the new tax allowance to boost investment in the North Sea. We all know ‘cash is king’, so the investment in these sectors will have a knock-on effect to the recruitment industry, who will benefit from the development of large projects in this area, which require more staff – recruitment businesses can then reap the rewards of this additional work.

As a result of the 2.7% growth and financial support for SMEs, recruiters should now take advantage of these opportunities to grow their businesses to not only make a profit, but also to help the country to continue its steady descent towards the end of the deficit. Recruiters need to make sure they have sufficient funding to take their businesses onto the next level, in order to jump onto the evolving cycle of winning more clients and subsequently employing more staff.

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