Thoughts on the 2023 Autumn Statement

With 110 (actually 108) improvements to UK Plc I thought I would struggle to provide a brief post Autumn Statement assessment. After a day of looking at it, I am still struggling albeit for quite the opposite reason.

Expanding the role of the British Business Bank, free ports and more focused education are obviously sensible but I am left with the view that much of our government is choosing a reality that fits their narrative rather than the one I see every day. What do I Mean?

- Govt Contractors required to confirm sub-contractors are paid within 54 days: Sounds great but how will this be policed?

- HMRC Investment to reduce the tax gap: The extent of the tax gap and the effectiveness of HMRC in closing it is an essay in itself. Simply giving an organisation that is failing on so many levels money to fix a problem that is ill (and indeed self) defined is self-serving and merely guarantees a great headline next year without fixing either the failing Organisation or the Tax Gap.

- IR35: Guess what; more changes yet still no understanding at how anti-growth and anti-evolution this policy is. We are rearranging the Titanic deck chairs again.

- Regulators to continue to focus on evolution: Having worked in an increasingly over regulated space for thirty years, the suggestion that regulation is anything more than a drag on evolution is laughable. And yet the answer is always “More regulation not less.”

- If we are to become the focus of investment, growth and innovation the changes need to be fundamental and, more importantly accept a number of realities that are just a bit too uncomfortable for Politicians to accept.

My overall assessment is a D+. An overlong piece that aims to answer a different question to that posed.

Please do get in touch if you want to discuss how any of this impacts you going forward. My contact details are listed below.

Jeremy Frost

JeremyF@frostbr.co.uk

Jeremy Frost, Director of Frost Group
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