‘Responsible Budget largely welcome for business’ says IoD Scotland director

Comment on the Budget from David Watt, Executive Director of the Institute of Directors (IoD) Scotland.

“For the business community in Scotland the headline of this year’s budget must be changes to North Sea taxation. This was vital to encourage further exploration to sustain the life of the North Sea oil and gas industry, which is so important not just for Aberdeen, or for Scotland, but for the whole of the UK.

David Watt, IoD Scotland

“It appears that the Government have been listening to the protestations of the industry. The result is significant cuts in oil revenue taxes as well as real support for exploration, backdated in some aspects.

“The reduction in the duty on whisky is to be applauded. While it was small, it sends out an important signal that we don’t penalise our own successful exporters. It also brings to an end the period when it seemed that the only way such excise duty could go is up.

“I suspect the legislation to enforce the opportunity to come out of annuities will cause some raised eyebrows in financial services, especially insurance industries based significantly in Scotland. In the long term these changes might bring benefits but will certainly cause some short-term disquiet.

“Perhaps the best news is that the Chancellor did not take the opportunity in the lead up to the election to indulge in ‘deeply irresponsible’ spending on the back of recent progress. Business hates boom and bust and fickle politicians who change their mind for reasons of expediency or approaching elections.”
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