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22 November 2017

Business-friendly Budget in challenging times - FSB NI

Wilfred Mitchell, Northern Ireland Policy Chair at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said:

“Overall, this is a business-friendly Budget. The Chancellor’s vision for an inclusive economy includes a set of measures that will boost confidence across the small business community as they face extremely challenging trading conditions.

“Tens of thousands of modest-earning Northern Ireland firms and self-employed people will be relieved that FSB’s lobbying has successfully seen off a VAT tax grab that would have caused huge economic damage. Instead, FSB is ready to work with the Treasury to simplify an over-complicated tax that on average takes a VAT-registered business a whole week to administer every year.

“We welcome the fuel duty freeze, which is vital to so many local businesses for customers, suppliers and staff, and we welcome the careful approach to protect diesel van drivers while at the same time addressing air quality. We also welcome the freezing of air passenger duty for all short-haul passengers, and the Chancellor’s commitment to publishing a call for evidence to consider the impact of VAT and air passenger duty on tourism in Northern Ireland, to report at Budget 2018.

“On the larger scale, FSB welcomes the renewed commitment to give Stormont powers to set the rate of corporation tax, and make an announcement in 2018-19 on implementing the regime, subject to a stable Executive being established. This heightens the need for our local politicians to return to work soon.”

In conclusion, Mr Mitchell noted:

“The economic outlook remains extremely troubled, with high costs of doing business and inflationary pressures hitting confidence and resulting in a deterioration of productivity and growth. The Chancellor is clearly aware of the impact of rates on small businesses in England; we need to ensure our Executive is restored so it can act in similar support of local businesses here, protecting them by continuing the very successful policy of Small  Business Rates Relief.”