Insight: Suffolk green energy entrepreneur Steve Sharratt on the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement

The Autumn Statement was only partially disclosed in the media this year – probably because it didn’t have that much good news, but it would be good to think the trend could continue, writes Steve Sharratt.

Where do I think it sits? Well, good on headlines, short on substance I am afraid.

Whilst large corporations will welcome the tax cut and it makes Britain slightly more attractive for inward investment, 1% means little to a small business and even less to any business which isn’t making money in these difficult times. The headline grabbing ten fold increase in allowances sounds great and for a few businesses it will be. But 100% allowances are only any good if you a) have the money to invest in the first place and b) have the profits to set off against the allowances. Far better, bolder and more effective would have been for government to introduce an investment allowance scheme similar to the R&D tax credit scheme whereby small business could claim cash credits against qualifying investments.

One final point.

The Coalition almost got away with pledging �2bn in overseas aid for climate change over the next two years. Whilst I think it is vital that we invest in tackling climate change, here and abroad, it cannot be right that we have agreed to invest double the amount initially pledged to the Green Investment Fund for UK businesses. Surely it should be the other way around? And according to some reports, this money is already finding its way to the coffers of large companies in respect of solar and other projects in Africa not direct to the communities and fledgling businesses that really need it. Come on HMG, get your act together!

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