Backing for Budget – provided pledges are delivered upon

The North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce has given cautious backing to the measures outlined in Wednesday’s budget by the Chancellor, George Osborne.

Among Mr Osborne’s announcements was an increase of the business rates threshold from £6,000 to £15,000 a year.

Those reforms will mean that thousands of small businesses will not pay any business rates.

Corporation tax was also cut with a forecast level of 17 per cent by 2020, a three per cent drop from the start of parliament.

“We had set out a number of things we wanted to see mentioned in the Budget,” said Babs Murphy, the Chamber’s Chief Executive.

“We asked for no further taxes on businesses following the triple whammy of auto-enrolment, the National Living Wage and the apprenticeship levy in the space of a year.

“We also urged the Chancellor to deliver the long overdue business rates reform by April 2017, in addition to avoiding the introduction of measures which could dent business confidence.

“Taking all that into account, the early signs from this year’s Budget are promising ones.

“Business rates were a Chamber priority and the reforms announced are good news for small businesses.

“A reduction in Capital Gains Tax from 28 per cent to 20 per cent for the higher rate and 18 per cent to 10 per cent for the basic rate is also great news for entrepreneurs and investors.

“Freezing fuel duty for a sixth consecutive year was also a pleasant surprise and something I am sure will be welcomed by millions of motorists, as well as those companies whose livelihood is transport-based.

“On the whole, the Budget provided an impressive list of business-friendly infrastructure projects but words are all well and good – the key is for the Government to deliver on these pledges.

“The same goes for the Office for Budget Responsibility’s forecast of a million extra jobs; we want to see action rather than words.”

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