Budget offers promise for local businesses…
Today (Wednesday 18 March) saw the Chancellor of the Exchequor, George Osborne, deliver the final Budget of the Coalition government before the dissolution of parliament and the impending General Election.
The MP for Tatton delivered his eagerly anticipated spending plans for the forthcoming fiscal year to the House of Commons, with numerous business focused measures that will please the local business community.
After documenting the latest Office for Budget Responsiblity (OBR) figures on national and international growth, along with the news that unemployment is set to be 5.3% by the start of 2016 – an all-time low -, the Chancellor added to his already mooted 20p rise in the national minimum wage and the extensive review of the business rates system, by announcing that the Diverted Profits Tax – or Google Tax as it has become informally known – that was earmarked in the Autumn Statement.
Help for small businesses was high on the agenda, with the Diverted Profits Tax added to by the abolition of the self assessment tax return, a drop in Corporation tax rates to 20%, and the abolotion of national insurance for u21’s this year and apprentices next year.
Further to this, beer and cider duty is set to be cut by 1p, which will have a direct impact on the multitude of rural producers in Herefordshire and Worcestershire, the tax-free personal allowance will reach £11,000 by 2017, £600m has been promised for further investment in mobile and broadband technologies, and the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) – the main concern for the British Chambers of Commerce – has been safeguarded by the Chancellor.
Commenting, Mike Ashton, Chief Executive of Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Chancellor announced many policies and pledges that will create tangible benefits for businesses day to day existence. Of particular note, the fundamental review into business rates, the Diverted Profits Tax and tax simplification methods show that the Chancellor has recognised the demands of business whilst maintaining fiscal responsibility.
That withstanding, the Chancellor has been vehementin his calls to create a ‘Northern powerhouse’, which was, again, reflected in his Budget today. We would like to have seen more measures addressing the sizeable economic potential of Herefordshire and Worcestershire, the West Midlands and the Midlands in general in the Budget announcement today. As a county, we have seen levels of growth only rivalled by the capital and Oxford, whilst, as a region, we have been one of three that have seen the value of our exports consistently grow over the past few years.”
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