What do Hackney businesses want from George Osborne’s budget?


As George Osborne prepares his red box for his eighth budget next week, small businesses are waiting to see what the Chancellor has up his sleeve for this year.

Mr Osborne has so far kept his cards close to his chest– apart from showing his hand on pension reform before folding on Sunday night– but many commentators expect an announcement on business rates and corporation tax.

Growing public anger has been directed at global brands such as Google in recent months over their tax arrangements, while Facebook announced last week it would improve “transparency” in its tax structures in the UK.

Hackney Post took to the streets to see what local businesses think about the current system and what they would suggest to the man at Number 11.

Eren, Classic Grooming Barber – Haggerston

“I’m 24 and we’ve only been open for three weeks.

“It’s not easy starting a new business. You have to go and do everything yourself. It’s your initiative and it’s your action that gets you anywhere.

“The tax avoidance makes me angry. I’m here taking everything they’re throwing at me. These guys dodge it just because they’ve got the cash to do so; they can get some legal, slick guys in suits. They’re scam artists.

“If anything we shouldn’t be paying, they should be paying.

“The government should bring out a business model plan for young people. There are places like Sweden where the government help out young entrepreneurs and encourage them set up their own businesses.”

Stephanie, Florist – Hoxton

“I think Hackney is a really good place to have a small business. The area is up and coming all the time and people like finding new things to do so I think it’s good that we have a lot of independent businesses here.

“People need to be more adventurous and not just go to the same places all the time. A little bit of marketing wouldn’t go amiss.

“I don’t think it’s okay big companies manage to get away with [tax avoidance]. We have to pay our taxes and it’s probably harder for us. People who dodge taxes are big corporations. We have to pay and we have to survive so I don’t think it’s very fair.”

Max, Baker – Hoxton

“Lots of the bigger businesses aren’t paying their taxes. I think is unfair. Everyone should pay their way.

“I’ve lived around here for over ten years and it’s changed completely. I can remember when there was nothing on this road.

“Smaller businesses are getting pushed out and everyone’s being…I can’t say the words I want to say because I’ll swear.

“What would I suggest? A fairer tax system. If they don’t have to pay tax on something, why should the smaller businesses? It should just be fair.”

Mert and Vanessa, Bread and Butter Cafe – De Beauvoir

“We are very local and we have regular customers. I don’t think we have competition from big chains such as Starbucks because our coffee is much better than theirs.

“We pay lots of taxes. This is the rule of the world.

“But if you have big money you don’t have to pay big money but if you have small money you have to pay more. Because that’s all the government wants. So it’s annoying and it should change.

“The small businesses should pay less tax to be bigger and the big businesses should pay more, because they make more money than the rest of us.”

Simon, Butcher – Haggerston

“To be honest, what the bigger companies do doesn’t really affect us much.

“We are just trying to do our best to keep going and do well.”

Additional reporting Peter Yeung