Chancellor George Osborne’s budget ‘bad for Rugby’, says business pundit (but MP Mark Pawsey disagrees)

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THE chancellor has failed to help small businesses in Rugby, according to business experts.

George Osborne was criticised for failing to scrap a planned 5.6 per cent rise in business rates – to go up next month – and for not cutting corporation tax for businesses with earnings of less than £300,000 a year. One of the changes made to help businesses with turnovers of less than £77,000 was a simpler tax-return system.

John Barr who runs TaxAssist Accountants in Rugby said: “We knew there was very little scope for the Chancellor, but this was not a Budget for sole traders and small firms across Rugby who are the backbone of the local community.

“The cut in corporation tax to 24 per cent only applies to firms with profits of over £300,000. The majority of small businesses will have nowhere near that figure, but there is no cut in the 20 per cent rate they pay.”

Mr Barr said it was also disappointing that there were no concessions on fuel duty.

He added: “That said, we shouldn’t overlook the Government’s National Loan Guarantee Scheme for small businesses and the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, set to up to help finance small businesses, which launches next month.”

Simon Leech, chair of the Rugby branch of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said he had mixed feelings over the budget.

“It’s disappointing that he didn’t address the issue of business rates because that would have had an immediate impact and made a lot of traders, including small businesses happy,” he said.

“However, you have to look at the bigger picture, the cut in corporation tax will attract business and investment to the UK, and the cut in the 50 pence tax-rate will also help persuade high earners to keep their businesses and keep spending their money in the UK.”

Mark Pawsey MP, who ran a business in Rugby for 25 years before he was elected, said there was no doubt the chancellor’s budget was pro-business.

“The Government has doubled small business rate relief until 31 March 2013, which will benefit around half a million businesses from the burden of business rates,” he said.

“It is also helping businesses with fuel duty measures which mean from April, duty will be a full 10 pence lower than it would have been without action. All of these measures are a real help for businesses based here in Rugby.

“Furthermore, the cut in corporation tax shows to the world that Britain is open for business and this will attract in new investment and jobs.”