We need tax freezes and investment in the Budget, say Bath business chiefs
Business leaders in Bath have said they are hoping for tax freezes and investment in this afternoon’s Budget.
The chancellor, George Osbourne, is due to make his fourth Budget speech this lunchtime.
Executive director of the Bath Chamber of Commerce, Ian Bell, said business were looking for investment in infrastructure such as new housing, road maintenance and broadband, as well as a freeze on business rates and support for SMEs.
He said: “Essentially we are looking for things which will boost confidence and create an environment which promotes enterprise so that businesses can create wealth and prosperity.”
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David Gledhill, chairman of the Bath Federation of Small Businesses, added that business owners were looking for further reductions in Corporation Tax, access to finance, as well as a freeze on business rates and fuel price rises.
Today’s Budget comes after the economy shrank at the end of 2012 and the UK lost its triple A credit rating.
The chancellor has already told cabinet colleagues they will have to cut two per cent of their departments' spending over the next two years, saving £2.5 billion.
There are also rumours that the Beer Duty Escalator will be scrapped in the Budget, a move that will be welcomed by members of the Tax Payers’ Alliance which has called on the chancellor to freeze beer duty.
According to the group the tax on beer has increased by 42 per cent in the past four years, and tax now accounts for one third of the price of a pint of beer or just over £1.
Tim Newark, Bath co-ordinator for the Tax Payers’ Alliance, said many pubs were independent businesses that needed help to be able to keep their prices down.
He said: “A freeze in beer duty would help independent pubs and beer makers.”
The chancellor is due to start his budget speech at 12.30pm.