Chancellor's statement offers some pre Christmas cheer

Chancellor's statement offers some pre Christmas cheer

Today's autumn statement from the Chancellor George Osborne has met with a cautious welcome.

With trading conditions fragile a number of initiatives have been announced to try and boost small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) and provide a much-needed adrenalin shot to raise consumer confidence.

As well as greater support for SMEs, measures include freezing the proposed fuel duty rise, proposed extension to rate relief for small firms and implementation of a credit easing programme to underwrite up to £40 billion of small business loans.

However, many would have liked to see initiatives go further to help get people spending.

Phil Orford, chief executive of the Forum of Private Business commented: "We welcome the announcement of 50% income tax relief and a one-year capital gains holiday for those investing in start ups under the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS), but the Government should have acted to encourage private lenders too."

Mr Orford added: "I think we have seen some tentative steps towards easing fuel duty and business rates, but we need to go much further and introduce real tax reforms in order to help them to grow and create jobs.

"Further, scrapping January's three pence fuel duty rise completely and reducing the increase scheduled for August is good news but we wanted all fuel duty increases scheduled for 2012 to be postponed."

He concluded:"Overall, small business finance - freeing firms' cash flow by removing the cost barriers they face and improving levels of affordable commercial funding - remains the immediate priority. The Chancellor has taken some steps in the right direction but he could have made much bolder strides to get Britain trading by providing more support for the smallest businesses."

The widely trailed one-year holiday on business rates for small businesses is reported to mean a third of all shops will have no business rates liability until April 2013.

Liz Peace, chief executive of the British Property Federation commented: "While it is very welcome that small businesses and particularly retailers can be helped in this way it is disappointing that this has not been extended to those businesses and landlords who own empty shops, or indeed other business premises.

"Taxing empty property continues to suck investment out of our towns and cities."

Business Link has provided a useful summary of the measures affecting business which can be found at

Posted: 22 March 2019

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