UK Budget – first thoughts on procurement issues

In some ways, it would be great to be the Chancellor, George Osborne. Powerful, clever, affluent, not bad looking.... on the other hand, he faces a tough task given the lousy hand of cards he was given by the previous Government and global issues; debt, deficits, global inflation. So it was always going to be a difficult budget today without the scope for big give-aways.

Osborne has just sat down after his speech. We won't go into straight political / economic issues here, as we focus on procurement matters, but it seemed to me it was well-thought out within the constraints he faces. As usual, there will be a lot in the accompanying documentation that wasn't explicit in the speech, so we'll have a look at that and maybe write another piece later. So what was there at first sight of interest to our procurement and supply chain community?

Moves to attract companies to operate in the UK - tax changes, and a faster reduction in Corporation Tax. Might that bring a few of the multi-nationals' procurement units back from Luxembourg and Switzerland?

Regulations - removing the equality act dual discrimination clauses (need to check what that means for public sector procurement), no win no fee claims to be restricted, moratorium for small business for all new regulation for next 3 years. Also 'taking the fight to Brussels' on regulation; good stuff!

Trial of auctions for planning permission. Not sure how it will work but sounds like an interesting commercial approach.

Increases on allowances for capital investment - so we might see a busy time for buyers and category managers in capital equipment and premises related spend?

Don't really understand the 'carbon price floor' stuff...? Have to read more on that.

40,000 new apprenticeships announced. Should we be offering procurement apprenticeships - does anyone do that?

Tax avoidance; stopping Amazon etc from sending me CDs from Jersey to avoid tax! Another £1 on the cost of a CD; that'll cost me a fortune!

And travel buyers need to look again at the equations around private jets given new taxation: there'll be a few MDs hoping that the 'business case' still stacks up despite the new tax. Mileage payment that is tax-allowable goes up from 40p to 45p.

That's it - I was expecting a bit more maybe around public sector procurement supporting growth, but there have been announcements on those issues recently so perhaps there wasn't much more to say.

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