The chancellor Philip Hammond delivered his second spring statement yesterday, in which he announced the government’s plans for a number of consultations that could affect the sector.
As with last year’s statement, Hammond held back from making any major tax and spending decisions, to the frustration of some charities that had hoped for a funding boost.
Hammond was particularly cautious in yesterday’s statement, as it came amid a series of parliamentary votes around the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, the nature of which is still yet to be clarified.
However, Hammond announced a review into the operation of insurance premium tax and calls for evidence on the use of Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) and on how to improve the VAT partial exemption regime and the capital goods scheme.
Meanwhile, the Office for Budget Responsibility has downgraded its expectations for growth in 2019 to 1.2 per cent from its previous estimate of 1.3 per cent in the autumn budget.
Andrew O’Brien, director Social Enterprise UK, dismissed the spring statement as “just another attempt to keep the UK’s failing economic model limping on”.
He said: “The billions being poured into private business is not going to transform our economy. The chancellor’s current approach is like pouring water into the bath without putting in the plug. Unless we redesign business to focus on long-term investment and public good we are not going to see the economic and social turnaround we desperately need.
“The public wants a fresh direction. We need an ambitious partnership between government and social enterprise, with major support given only to businesses which put social good at the heart of what they do. This will not only boost growth but build a more inclusive economy which works for everyone.
“We must stop tinkering with small initiatives such as Social Investment Tax Relief and focus on bold solutions which can turbocharge growth, improving lives and protecting our planet.”
Click here to read further responses from the sector.