A Budget breakthrough?

A Budget breakthrough?

Alistair Darling’s first ever Budget as chancellor seems to be a positive one from an SME perspective

With pledges to give more government contracts to smaller firms, a promise to cut red tape over SME taxation and also signs of more funding to help smaller businesses grow ­ it sounds as if all their Christmases have come at once.

However as always, words are a great tool to help build up people’s expectations only to be dashed at a later date when no action has been taken to back them up.

Take Catalist, for example. This was hailed as a way for smaller IT contractors to get in on the lucrative public sector tender act, but when the official Catalist framework was announced, just a handful of channel players made it onto the list, with the usual suspects such as major service players dominating the list.

Granted, there are partnership opportunities for sections of the larger contracts, but many resellers were put off by the numerous hoops they were forced to jump through to even reach the tendering stage.

Now the government has promised to give smaller firms 30 per cent of all public sector contracts over the next five years. However, a lot depends on what the percentage already is and how the actual contracts are defined. At the moment public sector tenders are definitely not on a level playing field and this needs to be addressed.

Small firms are the lifeblood of the UK economy and it is only right that instead of penalising them, the government should do all it can to encourage success and growth.
Anything the chancellor says in the Budget is pie in the sky until he acts on these plans.

As the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words.