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22 November 2017

Welcome movement in the budget but unresolved issues remain for Wales

Commenting on the budget, Janet Jones, FSB Wales Policy Unit Chair, said:

“There is welcome movement in this budget, although some key issues still remain unresolved for business in Wales.

“We welcome the fact that money will be available to Welsh Government through the Barnett Consequential arising from the budget. The Welsh Government now needs to look at how this money can be allocated to support the forthcoming Economic Delivery Plan.

“We also welcome the movement on business rates in which the Chancellor has called for more frequent revaluations, moving from RPI to CPI, and tackling the staircase tax, which had caused serious concern for many businesses. Whilst business rates is a devolved issue in Wales, we have been calling for more frequent revaluations for businesses in Wales for some time, and would call on Welsh Government to look at the measures announced today and how they can also be implemented to benefit businesses in Wales.

“Despite this, we are troubled to see that there are substantial downgrades in growth and productivity forecasts for the UK, and also dismayed that there was no movement on “big ticket” items for Wales. FSB Wales has been calling for a decision on the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon and devolution of Air Passenger Duty (APD) for Wales for some time, as has much of the business community in Wales. The Chancellor called for a review of the impact of VAT and APD on tourism in Northern Ireland, and we would ask for the UK Government to commit to the same for Wales. We are, however, very pleased to see progress being made on growth deals for Mid and North Wales. These deals have the potential to unlock further growth and investment for regions of Wales, and we hope to see the government working in consultation with businesses in Mid and North Wales to do so.

“Finally, it is really positive to see that the Chancellor listened to FSB concerns and chose not to lower the VAT threshold. VAT remains a complex and cumbersome system for small businesses to navigate and we would call on the Chancellor to simplify an over-complicated tax that on average takes a business a whole week to administer every year.”