There is a universal truth apparent in most team sports and their fans – even though we know there can only be a very limited pool to pick from we still wait with baited breath for news of every team selection.
It doesn’t seem to matter what level or stage we are talking about, first match of the season or final of the Six Nations – the focus of the fans is just as intense.
In reality we, know a team manager can only pick his first team from named players and yet we attempt to predict and discuss and later question his choice as though somewhere he has Superman, The Flash and Iron Man stashed away but he just didn’t fancy using them because yes, they would be an unbeatable team but he wasn’t so sure they would look good in the away strip.
With every decision made, we enjoy the opportunity to question what we would have done different, who we would have placed where (and how if we were in charge that loss would certainly have been a win). But since few of us will ever have the chance or opportunity to prove ourselves as anything but a theoretical bar stool team manager – it is a fairly safe fun game to play.
For people who don’t share my love for sport, it may all seem rather pointless. But even when we see big selections and decisions in life-changing areas of life, like politics, it is amazing how little interest many people take.
They may argue an event like The Autumn budget, which we have just seen, it only ever a case of moving players – or in reality money around – and the outcome is never really that different. Some will win some will lose and some will stay exactly where they were. And the only thing that matters is finding those parts that tie in with self-interest. Will beer drinkers pay more or less – and how will the smokers fair? But that is just the tip of the iceberg and to continue the metaphor it is what lies beneath that sinks ships.
As a bookkeeper and accountant who sees beyond those headlines, this is what I took from it that will matter to small businesses and individuals. For people who didn’t watch the budget ‘match’ – they are, if you will, the highlights.
- The UK’s growth forecast has been cut to 1.5 per cent from two per cent
- The UK will set aside £3 billion for possible Brexit outcomes
- Borrowing is forecast to fall
- The tax-free personal allowance will increase to £11,850 from April 2018
- The threshold at which taxpayers pay the higher rate will rise to £46,350 from next year
- The VAT threshold will be frozen at £85,000 for at least the next two years
- Business rates will be indexed to CPI from next year, which could see a rates reduction of around one per cent
- After the next one, business rates revaluations will occur every three years
- The main R&D tax credit rate will be increased to 12 per cent
- Excise duty for older diesel cars will rise from April 2018, but van owners will be exempt
- The scheduled April 2018 fuel duty rise for both petrol and diesel cars has been scrapped
Investment in Business
- The government has set aside £2.3 billion for investment in Research and Development.
- The British Business Bank will receive a funding boost, unlocking £13 billion to fund UK SMEs
- The Chancellor confirmed the introduction of a national retraining scheme focusing on digital skills and construction
- It is thought the Enterprise Investment Scheme will be expanded to make investment in scalable tech business easier
- The National Living Wage will increase by 4.4 per cent to £7.83 from April 2018
Regardless of party politics, personality or outcomes, there will always be people who will argue the Chancellor made the wrong selections, sacrificed the wrong things or helped the wrong people and they could well be right. But as in sports, a selection must be made and a playbook picked and stuck too, for a while at least.
People might choose to ignore the budget. But they cannot ignore the changes it brings, and I make sure I digest and understand it all so my clients don’t have to. After all, we may not be able to stop the manager of our favourite team benching Superman for the next match, but we can certainly have a good moan about it over a pint – that’s if we can still afford one post-budget of course.