The Forum of Private Business has welcomed a string of small business-friendly measures included in the Budget.
The support and lobby group believes cuts to small business corporation tax, together with the hike in entrepreneurs’ relief on capital gains tax, will make a measurable difference to the fortunes of small and medium-sized enterprises.
Forum chief executive Phil Orford said, “I think many small business owners will be pleasantly surprised.
“Not only did the Chancellor make all the right noises about supporting enterprise and smaller businesses, he backed it up with a number of crucial tax changes.
“The 1% reduction in small companies’ tax is obviously more than welcome – it’s something we and the SME community have long called for. It also represents a 2% cut in real terms as the previous government had planned to increase small companies’ tax by a further percentage point.
“The rise in CGT had proved controversial with business owners ever since the idea was first put forward, but the 28% rate is a gentler increase than many people were expecting. More importantly, the rise in the entrepreneurs’ relief threshold to £5 million is more than we could have hoped for and it should ensure that most small business owners aren’t penalised too heavily when they come to sell their companies.”
Mr Orford added, “The moves to limit rises in National Insurance, introduce NI exemptions for some new employers and raise the income tax threshold were also positive, even though they were watered-down from the Conservatives’ original pre-election promises.
“What we need now are some guarantees on how the white paper on local economic growth Mr Osborne mentioned will focus on innovation and jobs in regions that are likely to be affected by public sector job cuts.
“We will also be lobbying the government to make sure the ‘fuel price stabilizer’ Mr Osborne referred to becomes a reality. Extortionate petrol and diesel prices represent a huge inflationary problem for smaller firms and could threaten recovery if left unchecked.”
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