Jeremy Hunt - Chancellor of the Exchequer

Reaction to Jeremy Hunt Autumn Statement 2023

Our very own Sarah Austin, the esteemed Director and Founder of the Lloyds Bank British Business Excellence Awards, holds a unique perspective on the recently unveiled Autumn Statement. As a prominent figure deeply embedded in the UK business landscape through her work with the country’s largest awards program, Sarah has been a vocal advocate for fundamental changes in taxation, aligning with the aspirations of many businesses she has interacted with over the past year.

At the helm of an awards program that celebrates excellence across all industries, with a particular focus on sustainability, diversity and equality, Sarah has gained profound insights into the needs and desires of businesses. From her vantage point, the Autumn Statement may not have hit the mark in terms of addressing the core concerns of business owners. In her view, what businesses truly want is “a transformation in taxation that rewards enterprise and growth”.

She says: “Britain has the potential to be the business capital of the world, and whilst many of the changes are positive, there is more to be done around attracting businesses from overseas to make the UK their home. The so-called ‘red tape’ needs to be cut.”

Despite these reservations, Sarah does not shy away from acknowledging the positive signals present in the Autumn Statement. The groundbreaking announcement of an £11 billion permanent tax break for businesses, heralded by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt as the ‘biggest business tax cut in modern British history.’ This move, she believes, marks the initial step in the direction of creating a business haven, injecting vitality into the economy and fostering confidence – a commodity that may have been somewhat lacking in the preceding year.

From Sarah’s perspective, these developments represent the green shoots of positivity. However, she contends that more proactive measures are needed, akin to planting bountiful business bulbs, to ensure a prosperous 2024 and beyond. She continues: “We are a nation that prides itself on business excellence – this needs to be at the forefront of all major policy decisions. When business does well, so does the economy – it really is that simple.”

In essence, the Autumn Statement is a call to action for more substantial changes in taxation and a streamlined approach to encourage international businesses. While acknowledging the positive steps taken, Sarah urges policymakers to be mindful of the long-term vision – to cultivate an environment where business excellence is not just celebrated in awards but is ingrained in the fabric of the nation’s economic policies. The path to a successful economic future lies in nurturing the seeds of business prosperity today.