It’s hard to believe that there is nothing that hasn’t already been leaked from the Budget already (and it’s hard to believe that anything has been leaked. Mr Speaker gets very upset about that sort of thing). However, if there are a few things that George has kept in his briefcase, I’m looking for:
1. ICT skills training money in schools. There are a lot of good programmers on the market at the moment. A lot of them didn’t learn their sklls in British schools. We always look for the best talent when recruiting, and if we want to promote British talent, then we need to skill them up. Maybe George should give everyone a Rasberry Pi in their next stocking?
2. NI breaks for new hires: Any time you take on a new employee, the Government taxes you on their salary. That seems very much at odds with the rhetoric of getting the private sector to grow, and pick up the jobs being shed by the public sector
3. National Venture Fund: Probably in breach of a dozen European regulations, but someone has got to fund innovation. The Americans put millions into new and risky products, because that is what it takes to get them off the ground. They have managed that in the private sector, but for all the talk of Silicon Roundabouts, we are a long way behind.
In particular, we should look at funding physical stuff, not just digital media. We show time and time again a talent for genius in invention, and a talent for allowing that genius to be expolited by someone else (James Dyson excepted). A lending initiative won’t do it, because banks are not geared up to be venture capitalists. If there is money to be handed out to SME’s, let some of it fuel real innovation