Cheers! Bath businesses back Budget as landlord toasts 1p off a pint
Bath's business leaders have responded positively to the chancellor’s Budget.
In his announcement George Osborne announced a freeze on fuel duty and said Corporation Tax would drop to 20 per cent from 2015.
Despite admitting the growth forecast for this year had been reduced to 0.6 per cent, he confirmed personal tax allowance would rise to £10,000 from April 2014 and announced a 1p cut off the cost of a pint.
He also scrapped the Beer Duty Escalator.
Rod Humphris, landlord at the Raven on Queen Street in Bath, who was part of a Tax Payers’ Alliance campaign to freeze beer duty, said: “We all know losing our pubs can be a genuine loss to our communities. It’s nice finally to have something that will contribute to reversing that trend.”
Small businesses were given a further boost with the launch of a new Employment Allowance, which will scrap the first £2,000 of an employer’s National Insurance bill.
Executive director of Bath Chamber of Commerce, Ian Bell, said: “There was quite a bit for business to be happy about in the Budget as the chancellor has responded to some of the calls for changes, in particular by introducing a measure to cut the cost of employing people.
"This will be warmly welcomed, especially by small businesses who will be looking forward to the introduction of the Employment Allowance.
“It was also pleasing to hear about an increase in expenditure on vital infrastructure and his reference to city regions being given greater control over their economic destiny. We will need to wait to hear more about the detail.”
He added: “He didn’t say anything about business rates or VAT but overall this is a pretty decent package which will benefit many companies.”
David Gledhill, chairman of the Federation of Small Business, said: “He’s clearly gone a long way to meet many small businesses’ concerns not least with the fuel duty freeze. It’s a very good start and he seems to be finally putting his money where his mouth his.”
Tax specialist, Dominic Bourquin, at Bath financial advisers Monahans, said the new Employment Allowance would encourage employers to hire new staff but added businesses would be disappointed there were no mention of business rates in the Budget.
He said: “Business rates are due to go up 2.6 per cent fairly soon and we know businesses, particularly retailers would be looking for some help or looking for that to be postponed. It is fair to expect that planned increase to happen - if it wasn’t the chancellor would have announced it.
“With many big names going under this is somewhat of a surprise - that would have made a huge difference to lots of people.
“There’s been a lot of talk of the government needing to kick start growth, although we have to accept they are in a very difficult position. There isn’t a lot of money around.”
Personal finance specialist, Sean McCann, at NFU Mutual, said the Budget was a good deal for entrepreneurs.
He said: “By axing the first £2,000 of employers’ National Insurance contributions, George Osborne has given smaller businesses in particular a big shot in the arm with almost half a million escaping any payment altogether.
He added: “Taxes are complicated and tax laws change regularly but the announcements in this Budget show that there are some generous tax breaks already out there if people want to make the most of their money. We’re advising people to take time to study the Budget’s implications for their own finances.
“As always the devil is in the detail - watch out over the next few days as the full implications become clear from the detailed statement.”
Other measures announced included £3 billion extra funding for infrastructure, and a Help to Buy initiative including an Equity Loan worth 20 per cent of a new build home.
Controversially Mr Osborne also gave support to fracking by announcing a new Shale gas field allowance as part of measures to help boost the energy sector and promote a low carbon economy.