Budget 2013: Leicestershire bosses welcome Chancellor's tax cuts and housing boost
Business leaders have welcomed measures in the Chancellor's budget to boost the flagging economy by cutting taxes and helping first-time house buyers.
George Osborne yesterday said he would slash National Insurance payments for firms by up to £2,000 in a move which will benefit thousands of Leicestershire companies.
He also announced £130 billion of Government-backed loans to help those struggling to get a mortgage, the scrapping of a 3p rise in fuel duty planned for September and a reduction in corporation tax from 21 per cent to 20 per cent.
Experts said the package of measures would help companies create more jobs.
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John Walker, national chairman of Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), who is in Leicester today for the federation's national conference, said the budget would help firms to grow.
"This budget opens the door for small firms to grow and create jobs." he said. "The chancellor has pulled out all the stops with a wide-ranging package of measures to support small firms. The FSB says the housing initiative will help reinvigorate the construction sector in which many of our members operate and where confidence has been low.
"The National Insurance Contributions cut goes beyond what we were asking for and we are pleased to see the 3p fuel duty rise due in September completely scrapped. We now look forward to hearing details on how the Government intends to take forward the business bank that will help provide much needed access to capital for small firms."
The home loans scheme helped to boost the share price of Bardon-based house builder Barratt during trading yesterday afternoon.
Chief executive Mark Clare said: "This is a major boost for homebuyers and housebuilders. Over the last five years high deposits and limited availability of finance have combined to lock many people out of the housing market. This is an important step towards addressing these issues and meeting the housing needs of the nation.
"It will also be a major boost to the economy – every additional home we build creates two jobs. We are gearing up to meet the increase in inquiries that we expect to see."
Richard Farnsworth, tax expert at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Castle Donington, said: "This is potentially a game-changing development for the East Midlands economy, which could add a significant amount of sparkle to the housing market although we will have to wait and see what the impact will be on the secondary market. The move will be a significant boost to the construction sector and help to create more jobs."
Martin Traynor, chief executive of Leicestershire Chamber of Commerce, said: "I think the scheme to support housing is a very clever one. It allows the Government to pump millions of pounds into the housing market, which will trigger the building of more housing."
The hospitality industry welcomed the scrapping of the beer duty escalator and a 1p reduction in beer tax.
Bill Allingham, owner of the Steamin Billy Brewing Company, which owns eight pubs across Leicestershire, said: "It means that we can try to maintain a fair price for a pint in our pubs. I think it is great news that the chancellor has identified that our sector contributes hugely to the economy and can continue to do so."