Federation welcomes Osborne’s pledge of support to small businesses

THE LEICESTERSHIRE branch of the Federation of Small Businesses has welcomed chancellor George Osborne’s acknowledgement in his statement today (Wednesday) that such firms need more help (Wednesday).

Maxine Aldred, development manager for the federation in the Northants, Leicestershire and Rutland area, said: “We accept that bold actions are needed to boost the economy and we hope we are on the right road to helping small firms. The Chancellor has listened to many of our members’ concerns, and has put forward proposals to address these issues.”

The announcement was one fo a number made in the statement.

It was also announced a 3p-a-litre increase in fuel duty, planned for next January, is cancelled.

Economic growith is predicted to be down -0.1 per cent, worse than the 0.8 per cent rise predicted in the budget.

Forecasts for next few years are: 1.2 per cent in 2013, 2 per cent in 2014, 2.3 per cent 2015, 2.7 per cent in 2016 and 2.8 per cent in 2017

He also said most working-age benefits are to rise by 1 per cent for each of next three years

Basic state pension is to rise by 2.5 per cent next year to £110.15 a week, while child benefit is to rise by 1 per cent for two years from April 2014

Mrs Aldred said: “It is clear from the Office of Budget Responsibility’s figures that the recovery will take longer than anticipated.

“Efforts must therefore be focused on boosting short-term growth where finances allow, and putting measures in place that raise the long term productivity of the economy.

“To that end, the additional funds earmarked for spending in key areas such as schools and infrastructure are to be welcomed. They should have a positive immediate effect across the construction industry and help boost the productive potential of the economy.

“Similarly, we agree with the Chancellor that we should fully explore options to make full use of gas resources to reduce energy bills and build on the UK’s expertise in this area.

“If these proposals are to come to fruition, the Government must remain steadfast in its determination to reform the planning system that has been such a block on growth for big and small businesses alike.

“The announcement that 3p fuel duty increase as been cancelled rather than deferred is great news. Introducing this would have been an economic disaster. Extension of the Small Business Rate Relief to April 2014 will be a welcome relief to many small businesses.

“Businesses are looking closely at their costs and business rates are one of the biggest expense for small businesses. Increasing the capital allowance to £250,000 is good news and will help small businesses that want to invest in machinery, etc. Will boost intentions to invest now and help with job creation.

We’re disappointed that the Chancellor didn’t announce further information on the Business Bank. The £1bn capital was announced at the Lib Dem Conference by Vince Cable. Accessing finance remains a serious barrier to growth for small businesses. We look forward to hearing further information in the near future.”