Fife business chief reacts to Budget

Alan Russell, Chief Executive Fife Chamber Of Commerce
Alan Russell, Chief Executive Fife Chamber Of Commerce
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Fife Chamber of Commerce has issued its reaction to the Budget speech by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 21 March.

Alan Russell, Chief Executive of Fife Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is a Budget that was about revisiting government priorities and the result has been a disappointing one for businesses in Fife and Scotland. We are very pleased that cuts in the headline rate of Corporation Tax have been accelerated and extended. The cut to 24% in April will bring early cheer to some Scottish businesses and the news that the rate will continue to fall to 22% by 2014 gives us confidence for future planning.”

He welcomed some ‘positive’ news for video games and animation industries in the form of Corporation Tax reliefs.

Mr Russell added: “However, many small and medium-sized companies will feel the measures overwhelmingly benefit the biggest businesses. Smaller firms will be disappointed George Osborne did not do more to support confidence and growth in the real economy.

“For Fife Business, we would have liked to have seen the Chancellor cancel or reduce the planned 5.6% increase in business rates which would have forced the hand of the Scottish Government to do the same. We would also have liked to see the planned further increases in Air Passenger Duty and Fuel Duty abandoned. Of benefit to the drinks industry at least there are no further hikes in duty on spirits which is vital to the Scottish economy,” he said.

He commented: “The Scottish Government will receive £20.3 million of consequential funding and needs to put this to good use. Scotland’s businesses would very much welcome the use of some of this windfall to deliver increased levels of support for business such as a small business loan fund aimed at tackling short term cash flow issues or indeed reducing the planned business rates increase.”