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James Cowper Kreston Budget Breakfast – Polls reveal Chancellor’s progress but still room for improvement

13 March 2017

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More than 200 business owners, and the professionals that service them, from across the Thames Valley converged on Newbury Racecourse on 9 March to attend what has become the largest post budget briefing event in the region - James Cowper Kreston’s Budget Breakfast.

The event, presented by James Cowper Kreston tax partners Alex Nicholson, Sharon Bedford and Ian Miles outlined the main changes to both Corporate and Personal taxation issues raised in the budget outlining the real effect of these changes on businesses and individuals.

With the use of interactive voting throughout the presentation, James Cowper Kreston were able to gauge the mood across a large cross section of business to some of the key issues facing our region at this time.

Based on the Chancellor’s announcements regarding the economic position of the UK ahead of Brexit attendees were polled with the question - Is the UK economy match fit for Brexit?

79% of the responses felt that whilst they were obviously concerned about the uncertainties surrounding the UK’s exit from the EU, they remained confident that the UK economy was in a strong enough shape to weather the storm.

Focussing on skills shortage, a real issue that the Thames Valley region suffers from, the announcement by the Chancellor of the introduction of the new ‘T Level’ qualification to ensure that our young people have the right skills when they enter the workplace was agreed to be a welcome one.

However, this is a long term fix and the region has an immediate problem and so when polled whether in five years from now, ‘would the skills shortages in the region ease, get worse or stay the same?’ only 16.8% thought it would ease, whilst 45.5% believed it would get worse and 37.7% believed the situation would remain the same in this time scale.

Education formed a large part of this ‘new’ Chancellor’s speech and so finally, guests were asked to assess his progress to-date, using Ofsted criteria.

48.3% rated the Chancellor’s progress as ‘Good, whilst 44.3% thought his performance ‘Requires Improvement’.

With another James Cowper event after the November Budget, we wait to see how the results of these polls move post the triggering of Article 50.