What the chancellor's Autumn Statement means to Lancashire businesses

Chancellor George Osborne talked up growth in the UK economy, whilst promising good news for small businesses.

In headline announcements, stamp duty has been revamped, fuel duty frozen, R&D tax credits have been increased, whilst £500m of bank lending plus £400m of government-backed venture capital will be invested in SMEs, and a £45m package of support will be made available to exporters.

Jane Parry, lead tax partner, PM+M

"Chancellor George Osborne delivered his Autumn Statement to a mixed response. As always, there will be some winners and some losers from the measures announced. On some of them, the details will only emerge as consultation processes progress.

 


Mike Hartley, managing director, Praetura Asset Finance

“It’s great to see the government doing more to acknowledge the contributions made by Britain’s growing army of SMEs and taking action to support them. Ensuring that firms can source the best finance is imperative to improving growth and productivity, which is why the coalition’s pledge to invest a further £400m into the British Business Bank’s Enterprise Capital Funds programme is much welcomed.

 


Tony Medcalf, tax partner, Moore and Smalley

“This Autumn Statement has turned out to be an anti-climax for those businesses that were expecting to hear about business rate reform. Granted, the chancellor did cap the inflation-linked increase in business rates at 2 per cent, as he did last year, and he extended the doubling of the small business rate relief to April 2016. There was also a 50 per cent increase in the existing rates discount to help high street shops, pubs and cafes to £1,500 next year.

 


Claire Foreman, deputy principal, Runshaw College

“We are hopeful that the pledge to abolish national insurance on young apprentices will inspire more employers to recruit an apprentice as not having to make National Insurance Contributions (NICs) may be a deciding factor as to whether to recruit someone younger or older.

 


Clive Drinkwater, North West regional director, UKTI

“In the North West we have been pushing hard to grow the numbers of first time exporters for some time now, and my new exporter challenge has resulted in the North West region being the only one actually to grow its number of exporting firms. We still need to do considerably better, however, and this new package of support to help new exporters on their international journey is most welcome and will enable us to go faster and further in our quest to inspire a new generation of exporting firms in the region.”


 

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders

“Apprenticeship funding still hangs in the balance with no clarity offered by the chancellor in the Autumn Statement. We had hoped government would publish its response to the May 2014 consultation on funding reforms for apprenticeships but as things stand, we are no closer to understanding if ministers have taken heed of our advice and decided to review their ill-conceived proposals.

 


John Cridland, director-general, CBI “The major changes on stamp duty and business rates will be a shot in the arm for families and growing firms as they look towards 2015.

 


Colin Tice, tax partner, Cassons

"George Osborne’s Autumn Statement seemed heavy on rhetoric but light on real measures, perhaps in anticipation of next year’s election. The UK economy is growing at a rate greater than much of the competition and the rate of borrowing is forecast to reduce – there may actually be a surplus in 2018/19.

"These measures may appear Manchester-centric, but other cities can and will benefit. It is very probable that surrounding areas will also benefit, directly or indirectly. These must be regarded as very positive proposals."


Mark Schofield, director, Haworths Chartered Accountants

"With a general election looming in Spring 2015, the Autumn statement was very much a presentation of everything good the government has delivered since the coalition was brought into power four years ago.

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