Support for North East businesses welcomed

COMMENTING on today’s Budget, James Ramsbotham, North East Chamber of Commerce chief executive, said:

“We knew this was going to be a painful budget, but the Chancellor has largely taken the right decisions to safeguard economic recovery by protecting businesses.

“George Osborne faced a series of tough decisions in order to address the deficit. We asked him to judge these against an economic recovery test for the North East, and the budget appears to pass this test in a number of key areas.

“The measures introduced in the new budget are intended to provide certainty and stability for the UK’s private sector. The coalition government must now ensure that this stability lasts.

“The spending review in the autumn will give more detail on how cuts may directly affect the North East, so we reiterate our call for a full assessment of the impact on this region.”

On individual policy announcements, Andrew Sugden, NECC director of policy and membership, said:

“The gradual reduction of corporation tax over the next four years is a positive step for businesses in need of relief after the last two years. However, any unforeseen consequences from the cancellation of allowances need to be watched for and safeguarded against.

“While we would much rather have seen a complete reversal of the previous government’s policy of increasing employer contributions to National Insurance payments, the steps taken are very welcome. The increased threshold at which employers will start to contribute and the lowered rate for new businesses outside the South East will no doubt help to stimulate small business growth.

“We’re very pleased to see that further work on the reinvigoration of the Tyne and Wear Metro have been safeguarded, and that Mr Osborne has declared that there will be no further cuts to capital expenditure. It’s now critical that a fair share of this expenditure comes to the North East if sustained recovery is to be achieved in the region.

“However, moving aviation duty to a per-plane tax could damage transport links to this region, and is the wrong move.

“Given the current economic circumstances, a rise in VAT was the least worst option for many businesses, but it will have an impact, particularly in retail, and we hope to see this rate reduced in future as the economy grows.”

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