George Osborne’s budget welcomed as positive news for Sussex businesses

George Osborne at a visit to Eastbourne last year
George Osborne at a visit to Eastbourne last year

Measures in Chancellor George Osborne’s budget have been welcomed as positive news for Sussex businesses.

The Sussex Chamber of Commerce said a reduction in business rates, the removal of commercial property stamp duty in some areas, a reduction in capital gains tax, a reduction in corporation tax, abolishment of National Insurance contributions for self employed together with a further freeze on fuel duty would all provide significant benefits to local firms.

But the organisation expressed disappointment that focus on investment and devolution was in Wales, the north, Scotland and the Midlands, with no mention of Sussex or the South East.

Lewes MP Maria Caulfield said: “Britain’s economy is strong, growing and resilient because of the steps we have taken over the past six years. But we face a dangerous cocktail of risks – financial markets are volatile, productivity growth is too low and the outlook for the global economy is weak.

“That is why this Conservative Government are taking the steps needed to ensure that Britain is fit for the future. That means ensuring we have sound public finances at the same time as improving schools, helping savers, cutting taxes for both hardworking people and businesses, and giving the green light to major infrastructure projects.

“This budget chooses to put forward long term solutions to long term problems. It puts the next generation first and redoubles our efforts to make Britain and Lewes fit for the future.”

Simon Kirby MP, for Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven, said the budget ‘put the next generation first’ by cutting taxes for working people and small businesses, freezing fuel duty, improving schools, and introducing a lifetime ISA.

Meanwhile Amber Rudd, Hastings and Rye MP, welcomed the abolition of Class 2 National Insurance contributions, providing a £130 tax cut to Britain’s 3m self-employed, plans to permanently double small business rate relief and increase the maximum threshold for relief from £12,000 to £15,000, and a £100m investment in ‘second stage’ accommodation to help people move on from emergency hostels and refuges.

Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell added: “Moving the tax free threshold up to £11,500 will big a big boost to people in Eastbourne and I’m very pleased the Chancellor has done this.”

She added: “I also pleased that he vowed to continue the crackdown on big business avoiding tax in this country.

“We all know it’s just not fair that some are able to avoid tax while everyone else must pay, so moves to stop property developers from moving money offshore is very good news.”

Meanwhile Nus Ghani, Wealden MP, said: “Today’s budget has delivered lots of great things for Wealden and its residents.

“The measures announced by the Chancellor show that the Government is improving schools, helping savers, cutting taxes for both hardworking people and businesses, giving the green light to major infrastructure projects, supporting farmers, rewarding the self-employed and helping motorists.

“I’m delighted that Wealden’s small and rural businesses, as well as its young people, are being supported as they deserve to be. This budget puts the next generation first and redoubles our efforts to make Britain and Wealden fit for the future.”

Philip Johnson, director of business support service Locate East Sussex, said: “In a period of uncertainty, it is positive that the Chancellor delivered a stable budget that is promoting continued growth, particularly for SME businesses. Companies have been concerned about the increasing burden they are facing and it’s good to see the Chancellor is backing business to grow the economy out of the deficit.

“Businesses throughout East Sussex will welcome the permanent reforms to business rates – which will take more small firms out of the regime.

“Changing the uprating mechanism from RPI to CPI is also something which businesses have been calling for. Companies of all types will also be encouraged by the greater clarity and simplification of the Government’s energy policy.

“For overseas firms looking to invest, the reduction in corporation tax rate sends out a strong signal that the UK is open for international business investment.”

“In a period of uncertainty, it is positive that the Chancellor delivered a stable Budget that is promoting continued growth, particularly for SME businesses. Companies have been concerned about the increasing burden they are facing and it’s good to see the Chancellor is backing business to grow the economy out of the deficit.

“Businesses throughout East Sussex will welcome the permanent reforms to business rates – which will take more small firms out of the regime. Changing the uprating mechanism from RPI to CPI is also something which businesses have been calling for. Companies of all types will also be encouraged by the greater clarity and simplification of the Government’s energy policy.

“For overseas firms looking to invest, the reduction in Corporation Tax rate sends out a strong signal that the UK is open for international business investment.”

The 40 per cent tax threshold will be increased from £42,385 to £45,000 in April 2017, while the tax-free personal allowance is to rise to £11,500 in April 2017.

But Tim Roache, general secretary of union GMB, said: “To say this was a budget for future generations is laughable when this Chancellor has presided over policies that have seen the trebling of university tuition fees and removal of maintenance grants, the scrapping of the Educational Maintenance Allowance for working class kids and an axe taken to the further education sector that we need to equip people for the changing world of work.”

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, added: “The Chancellor yet again delivered a mixed bag of measures which will do very little to address the state of the public finances.

“While taxpayers will welcome tax cuts like the rise in the personal allowance which will leave more money in people’s pockets, measures like the regressive sugar tax will penalise families already struggling with the cost of living.

“The budget needed to include far more concrete measures to ease the enormous pressure on taxpayers and create a simpler, more competitive tax system.”

Quentin Willson, of FairFuelUK said: “Freezing duty for a fifth year is hugely significant.

“The Treasury now has five years of evidence to prove that keeping fuel duty low has helped improve GDP, stimulate economic activity and actually improve tax receipts.

“The Chancellor knows that low transport costs have had an enormous economic benefit to the UK over the last five years.”

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