Xenios Thrasyvoulou, founder of online freelancer marketplace PeoplePerHour comments: “The Chancellor said at the start of his speech that this would be a Budget for ‘doers’ which you would assume included small business owners and entrepreneurs. However apart from making it more affordable to hire under 21s by removing them from jobs tax and increasing the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) to £500,000, there wasn’t much else to give aspiring small business owners any confidence that the government has their best interests at heart.”
“This government need to go further. You only need to look at Silicon Valley and the number of great companies and ideas that hail from there to see what the effect of a tax structure that nurtures and encourages startups can do. In the UK, SMEs are the backbone of the economy and make large contributions to growth and lowering unemployment, yet they pay the same VAT, corporation tax and income tax as large corporations. Unless bigger and more fundamental changes are made to tax structures and business education little will change.”
MarketInvoice on supporting businesses that export: “The Chancellor announced measures to help exporters, saying that we need to make ‘Made in Britain’ a badge recognised across the globe.”
“Selling individual invoices that are outstanding to large overseas customers can provide much need help with cashflow for exporters and we welcome more measures from the UKTI to promote export, including more competitive finance options from the government.”
Spencer Mehlman, MD of www.notgoingtouni.co.uk, on apprenticeships: “This is fantastic news. Although National Apprenticeship Week is now behind us, it’s still a hot topic of conversation. Apprenticeships are an excellent route for school and colleague leavers to go down when looking to start their career, because the skills they can pick up in the workplace can be incredibly valuable. To hear that more is being invested in businesses to enable them to take on and support apprentices is really great news.
“The young people who chose to go to university and end up in thousands of pounds worth of debt in the process can often end up regretting their decision. With apprenticeships, young people get the opportunity to earn whilst they learn which is much better for the economy.”
Phil Orford, Chief Executive of the Forum of Private Business, said: “The headlines for business today are on energy policies and export. There are sizeable gains for UK manufacturers here in particular over the next few years. On export the Chancellor has thrown his weight behind getting more businesses exporting. Our membership is confident about growth but much of that growth is UK based so we needed to see such a commitment, though we will continue to work with the Treasury and others to develop even healthier export subsidies for business.
“Overall this was a budget that offers some help to all levels of business, with perhaps a slight focus on the mid-size energy intensive and manufacturing businesses, rather than the very small ones. However, it does help to tackle the cost of energy and makes good on the commitment trailed before the Budget to support those that look to invest, either in the UK – with a more extensive Annual Investment Allowance – or abroad, with a £3bn export support budget.”
Tim Walford-Fitzgerald, HW Fisher & Company, on savings: “ISAs have always had huge popular appeal – and the decision to simplify them and increase the amount people can save tax free will make them even more attractive.
“Many people seeking to shelter their savings from tax will jump on the chance to save up to £15,000 into an ISA, even with the measly interest rates being paid on cash.
“The removal of the 10 per cent band on savings income will make life much easier for thousands pensioners who are currently being taxed on their savings interest and are unable or unaware that they can claim back the tax.
Jamie Morrison, HW Fisher & Company, on Income Tax: “The rise in the personal allowance is worth more to the Chancellor in electoral terms than it will ever be to workers. Most taxpayers will see almost no difference to their pay packet as a result.
“But the increase in the threshold for higher rate tax is a genuine giveaway – and will be music to the ears of the squeezed middle.
“1.4 million more people have become higher rate taxpayers since 2010, and this finally offers them some respite.”
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