The Autumn Budget 2021 promised a lot for the UK, but offered little to business. Alan Dale explains how CEOs should respond to it.
Rishi Sunak opened his Autumn Budget speech by talking up the Office for Budget Responsibility’s forecasts for accelerated post-COVID-19 recovery. CEOs should hope it’s right, because the Chancellor’s closing point on whether the answer to crises is always ‘what will the government do’ reflected his approach to business in this Budget. The Chancellor told the House of Commons that the Conservatives are the ‘party of public services,’ but the message to business was clear: no silver bullets.
The one-year 50% cut in business rates for hospitality, retail, and leisure is a welcome concession for sectors hit badly by coronavirus, but unless you’re a craft cider producer or a Welsh winemaker, there was very little else, and it looks like this is the way it will be for the next few years. The rise in minimum wage is good for individuals earning it, but that’s not the only factor that attracts people to jobs, and some sectors will still struggle to recruit because of other conditions influencing their market. And, there was almost nothing on international trade.
Businesses may have received a clearer understanding of the landscape they’re operating in and the obstacles to navigate, but they are going to have to chart their own course through it.
So, what can CEOs do now?
Optimise. That’s what you need to do now. And, for the foreseeable future. Ensure that all your systems, from labour supply chains to marketing strategies, are set up to get the most out of the resources and support that you already have. To get started, here are three things you can do.
Recognise that change is continuing and accelerating
You need to plan for different scenarios across every area of your business: ESG, funding, people, skills, supply chains, import prices, productivity, international expansion… existing problems or potential problems –you have to plan for them. Agility is key.
Optimise, optimise, optimise
You also need to get the most out of what you already have and tighten up systems or processes that might incur unnecessary costs.
Get oversight on everything
You must have sight of what’s happening in all areas of your business: from capital to workforce and tax, and embed everything you've learned from coronavirus into it.
As a leader, that’s what you need to do to support your business. Tighten up its internal plumbing, and don’t waste money.
You know your business. We know the mid-market
Helping yourself doesn’t have to mean managing problems alone.
In this constantly changing environment practical guidance from an adviser can help you find the space to make the right decisions. Our deep knowledge of the mid-market brings together technical expertise with fresh thinking on all issues that matter to CEOs, so we can support you to develop clear and actionable solutions for the specific challenges facing your business.
We can support you to make the best informed decisions at speed, while keeping your business strategies fit for purpose.