North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce chief executive Babs Murphy has welcomed a number of measures announced by the Chancellor that will boost local businesses.
In his Summer Budget, the first budget announced by a Conservative government since 1996, George Osborne announced a host of pledges including a cut to corporation tax to 19 per cent by 2017 and 18 per cent by 2020 and setting the Annual Investment Allowance at £200,000.
A rise of the living wage to £9 per hour by 2020 will be supplemented by an increase in the National Insurance threshold for companies to £3,000, making wage increases affordable for SMEs.
Mr Osborne also announced that he was pressing ahead with plans to create a Northern Powerhouse, with the 10 Greater Manchester councils already having agreed some devolved powers from Westminster.
Babs Murphy said: “The Government has clearly signalled that Britain is open for business and we welcome the announced cuts to corporation tax, raising of AIA and an increase to the National Insurance contributions threshold.
“We all recognise that increased earnings and living standards will help feed the economy and small businesses in Lancashire will be pleased they have been given the National Insurance relief to help them afford increasing wages in the coming years.
“Cutting corporation tax will enable companies to enjoy a greater share of their profits and, along with an increase in the Annual Investment Allowance, which had been feared would be cut to £25,000, will encourage investment.
“The Chancellor has also signalled his intention to push forward with the Northern Powerhouse and, although there was no mention of negotiations with Lancashire local authorities, we can take comfort from the fact these conversations are taking place.
“Businesses in Lancashire have told us that they want more devolved powers and hopefully this is evidence that there is a possibility this could happen in the coming years.”