Charlie Mullins: 'The Chancellor's finally thinking like a businessman'

Charlie Mullins, founder of Pimlico Plumbers, gives his verdict on the Autumn Statement: Christmas has come early for business with the fuel duty freeze, he says, and civil servants have his deepest sympathy...

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013

This Autumn Statement has been very positive for businesses. The fact that Osborne is cancelling the 3p fuel rise is an absolute godsend. We spend over £1m a year on fuel at Pimlico Plumbers so you can imagine what another 3p on every litre would do to our overheads.

Corporation tax has also been cut by 1%. That’s going to draw more investors into this country. When they put the 50p tax rate in, they lost I don’t know how many billions. It's good to see Osborne thinking like a business man.

That said, I think it's fair to say that George has really had to rob Peter to pay Paul on all this. There have been a lot of cuts on the civil servants' side of things. The public sector is overloaded with people; there are two people doing a single person's job. It's grown massively over the years while our economy hasn't, but I do feel sorry for the workers that will lose their jobs.

At least Osborne has promised that for every job he cuts in the public sector, he’ll create two more in the private sector. I don't feel that these are empty words. Some 1.2 million new jobs have already been created in the private sector and I believe that if small businesses are encouraged to grow, we can create many more.

The other great thing that was announced in the Autumn Statement is that they’re going to clamp down on tax dodgers and tax evaders. The cutbacks will bring in another £7bn. For every taxpayer in Britain, the fact that these businesses and people aren’t going to be able to dodge it, avoid it, or take it offshore will make them feel a bit happier.

I do feel that this Autumn Statement ticked all the right boxes for business. I was a little disappointed that Osborne didn't have more to say about apprenticeships, but at least more money is being funnelled into schools, which is a start. I was hoping they would do away with that nonsense shelf-stacking scheme, but that's my only gripe.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy and deserve the government's support. In this Autumn Statement, I feel like we've actually got it.

Charlie Mullins is founder of Pimlico Plumbers

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