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Shimla Gin interviewed on BBC News Channel Live

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Shimla Gin interviewed on BBC News Channel Live to reflect on Jeremy Hunt's 2023 Budget and what it means for the drinks business

What an honour to be asked to participate in a rolling series of interviews with local Midland businesses to give their reactions to Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt’s 2023 Budget!

The interview itself took place in Sandwell’s Haden Hill Leisure Centre and was broadcast nationwide just after the Chancellor’s speech in the House of Commons.

This budget is not an election budget. It is a place-setter between last year’s chaos and next year’s election, when the Government will blow out all the stops in the next budget to make people think of voting Conservative again. At a required minimum this budget does no damage. It actually helps, as the currency markets immediately showed. He cleverly spread around some of the £15 billion or so he had free on initiatives focused on northern England. These initiatives avoid several pitfalls; as always the issue will be in the delivering of them.  Most elements had been trailed in recent days, so the only ‘rabbit’ was for better-off people to protect the value of their pension schemes even more.

Only two taxes going up.  Corporation tax, but with the same effective tax offset on capital expenditure as now, worded differently.  Excise duties on ‘non-beer and not in pubs’ will go up in August in line with inflation (i.e. 10%). No change from the drinks industry’s pessimistic expectations, then. Better stock up now! Nor anything special for hospitality and F&B as the industry was pressing for, such as fiscal support for apprentices.

Households and families can breathe a sigh of relief they have not been hammered yet again. The wealthier clearly benefit in the long term, everyone benefits from the subsidy on power for a little longer, parents get extra support if they have young children, the disabled and elderly will have some support to get back into work if they want or need to, and others a little bit, but only if they work. As Jeremy Hunt said: one million available jobs, six million people not fully engaged. If you total up all the ‘we can bring this number into the jobs market’ declarations made, then the economy must seriously boom to accommodate them all.

As co-panelist Ninder Johal of Nachural pointed out: nothing regarding export, nor anything explicit for public sector workers, though both these are likely to be ‘resolved’ by respective ministers. Plenty on potholes though!

For those of you who watched live – many thanks! For those who could not – or who would like to again – you can watch the full six minute interview below.  Please share!

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