The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP, gave his Budget Statement to Parliament last week and John Newcomb, BMF Managing Director, gave his initial reaction to those aspects most relevant to Federation members.
“Unlike previous announcements, George Osborne did not concentrate on changes aimed at housing and the home improvement trade.
“But for most BMF businesses, specific tax changes ought to help both merchants and their trade customers. Future cuts in Corporation Tax and abolishing National Insurance Contributions for the self-employed are very welcome,” said Newcomb.
“Stories in last Sunday’s newspapers hinted at an impending rise in Road Fuel Duty but thankfully Mr Osborne has resisted the temptation and decided to freeze the main rates for another year. This is good news and we thank him for doing so.
“Easing the rules on Capital Allowances and a promise to look again at qualifying energy-efficiency and water-saving technologies will also be welcomed by the businesses we represent.”
Newcomb continued: “On Business Rates, switching the annual indexation from RPI to CPI, moving to more frequent revaluations, and further administrative simplification are positive steps on the way to fundamental reform of the rating system. But Mr Osborne still has a major change to make – his treatment of firms that invest in plant & machinery. He wants them to modernise and be more productive but manufacturers are penalised because their investment is reflected immediately in the rateable value of premises. This cannot be right.
“The Chancellor reaffirmed his wish to simplify and speed up planning permission to increase housing completions and at a faster rate. With the Housing and Planning Bill currently before parliament, we are lobbying ministers to maintain the momentum to narrow the gap between housing demand & supply. More supply-side efforts are crucial to shorten the time it takes builders to start onsite and accelerate the number of homes completed.”