Fylde coast business leaders call for supportive Budget plans

The Budget must support businesses to grow back strong rather than raise taxes, Fylde coast leaders said.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 7:00 am

Geoff Mason from the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce said: “This budget carries a greater importance than we have seen for years.

"It is an opportunity for the Government to show continued, long-term support for those businesses worst hit during the pandemic. The £5bn of Restart Grants already announced is to be welcomed, helping the retail and hospitality sectors until they can reopen fully.

“It is, however, short-term support, and what is needed is a plan covering the rest of 2021 to help re-build business confidence. The budget needs to address upcoming cliff-edges by continuing the furlough scheme and VAT deferrals as long as they are needed.

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Tony Medcalf from Moore and Smalley
Tony Medcalf from Moore and Smalley

"Business rates relief for the hospitality, retail, and leisure sectors should also continue until next year.

“The predicted bounce-back needs to be given the space to flourish, without a rush to raise business taxation. By allowing firms to build back securely, the Exchequer will be able to raise money from them in the long-term rather than pushing severely weakened firms too hard, too soon, which could result in the closures they have so far worked so hard to avoid.”

The Chancellor should prioritise measures which encourage firms to invest in their productivity to support economic recovery, said Tony Medcalf, from Blackpool-based chartered accountants MHA Moore and Smalley, amid rumours of a Corporation Tax rise.

But he warned that a rise in Corporation Tax has been rumoured to begin to cut the UK's £2 trillion debt, which may worry some businesses.

Geoff Mason from the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce

He said: “If I could ask one thing of the Chancellor for the upcoming budget, it would be a focus on tax relief schemes which encourage businesses to expand by investing in their own productivity.”

According to Tony, potential tax relief measures included extensions to capital allowances including the Annual Investment Allowance. He also highlighted the benefits of giving businesses better access to money, which would help them make investments in productivity.

He also highlighted the benefits of giving businesses better access to money which would help them make investments in productivity, including government-backed funding initiatives or better incentivising shareholders to invest money into their business.

“I would also like to see targeted tax relief for business investment into certain areas,” added Tony.

“There is a lot of speculation about how the government will support the creation of a series of freeports across the UK which it is likely to link to the ‘levelling up’ agenda. We may also see further government support for Enterprise Zones, which benefit from enhanced capital allowances.”

He also discussed the possibility for increases to capital gains tax in addition to corporation tax.

“While I believe it is currently more important to introduce measures which prompt business growth, if raising corporation tax is firmly on the government’s agenda it may be sensible to do this now, rather than avoid raising taxes during an election year.”

“Fuel duty is often a point of discussion when the budget comes around, and an increase in fuel duty would not be unreasonable this year. With less people currently using their cars, the government may see this as an opportunity to raise rates without much immediate impact.”

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