PBR 2009: the reaction

“This Pre-Budget Report is a sign of the importance of small businesses to the UK economy. The Government’s Small Business Finance Scheme, which closely resembles the Small Business Survival Fund the FSB has been calling for, will provide a vital cash boost to businesses struggling with rising costs and a lack of credit.

“Many of these measures, such as giving businesses longer time to pay bills and offsetting losses, will give small businesses a welcome breather from the taxman and allow them to concentrate on sustaining their business, supporting their staff and growing the economy in the long term.” John Walker, FSB National Policy Chairman.

“There are a number of measures in this report that we have asked for that will help cashflow in small businesses and business overall by reducing costs. The £5bn package comprising the small business finance scheme and loans from the European Investment Bank should, if well and speedily implemented, give critical help to small firms in need. Small firms will gain from the deferment of the 1 per cent increase in corporation tax rates, together with new opportunities to reschedule tax payments. The reversal of empty property rate relief changes will be welcome to holders of small properties but regrettably excludes larger factories and warehouses which need similar help." Richard Lambert, CBI Director-General.

“It is no surprise that taxes have been cut in order to provide an immediate boost to the economy. But these will only be temporary and without doubt taxes will have to rise significantly in the future to pay back the massive borrowing.” Andrew Jupp, Tenon Head of Tax.

"The commitment to delay the rise in corporation tax from 21p to 22p in the pound for small businesses is welcome, particularly at a time when these businesses are under extreme pressure." Mary Monfries, PwC head of tax services for entrepreneurs, private companies and private clients.

 “Today’s announcement that there will be an exemption from UK tax for foreign profits (with much reduced anti-avoidance provisions) is to be welcome but will it really stem the tide of companies looking to go to less taxed shores? In our experience it is not just the taxation of foreign profits that matters.

"The SME sector is the lifeblood of the economy. The extension to the tax loss carry back period in these unprecedented times is welcome but why cap the level of loss? The move to ease the PAYE, NIC and VAT tax payment deadlines for SME in the short term is also to be applauded. But the fine words needs to be matched by appropriate actions. The extension of the loan guarantee scheme is needed.” Andrew Green, Tax Partner at RSM Bentley Jennison

"Slicing the top rate of VAT from 17.5 to 15 per cent until the end of next year means that certain products and goods charged at the top rate will be cheaper. The hope is that this will kick start high street spending, but business needs to pass on the savings from Monday 1 December when this cut is effective. The question is whether this is enough of a stimulus. Big and effective measures are needed. Will a year be enough? If not, this temporary reduction may need to be extended." Chas Roy-Chowdhury, ACCA Head of Taxation.

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