Local reaction to Budget 2014

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Local businesses and organisations have been reacting to today’s Budget Statement, from the Chancellor.

According to the head of tax at accountancy firm Bishop Fleming, today’s Budget was “as good as it could be for business”.

“The Chancellor branded his announcements as ‘a Budget for makers, doers, and savers’, and within the constraints of what was available to him, it certainly contained good news for businesses and business-owners,” said Bishop Fleming’s Andrew Browne.

“Of greatest help to many businesses will be the doubling of annual investment allowance to £500k, and the substantial increase in the R&D tax credit relief. This could be crucial to boosting growth and investment.

“Many of our regional businesses will also welcome the steps to curb their energy bills and boost Government-backed lending for their exports. We were also pleased to hear that our regional airports could be helped to fund new start-up routes to export markets,” said Mr Browne.

Louise Treseder, landlady for the Driftwood Spars in St Agnes, was pleased with the cut in beer duty. She said: “Obviously the brewing industry is delighted to see a reduction of 1p per pint in beer duty. This is good news for the counties publicans and brewers. The freezing of duty on Cider and whiskey will also help the regions cider farms and pubs.”

Paula Martin, chief executive for the Cornwall Air Ambulance, was particularly pleased that the Government plans to relieve VAT on fuel for Air Ambulances.

She said: “Cornwall Air Ambulance currently procures its fuel through its helicopter operator Bond Air Services and therefore does not presently have responsibility for recovery of VAT on fuel.

“Clearly, however, today’s announcement is very positive news for us should we choose to buy our fuel direct in the future, and for many of our Air Ambulance colleagues throughout the UK who currently buy their fuel in this way, and have therefore been subject to VAT.”

Following the Chancellor making an extra £140 million available for flood damage resolution, Richfords Fire & Flood’s business development director, Michael Cooper, said: “Following the winter storms this year, the country’s flood defences have taken a real battering. The Chancellor’s budget announcement will come as welcome news to communities throughout Britain who have been so badly affected.

“It is a welcome shot in the arm. It may be the case that more is needed in the future but this announcement at least makes funds available so that the necessary emergency work can get underway.”

One of the headline announcements from today’s budget, to exempt the estates of emergency service personnel who die in the line of duty from inheritance tax, was welcomed by lawyer Philip Reed, a partner with Stephens Scown LLP in Cornwall and a former Royal Navy pilot, has successfully used an existing inheritance tax exemption for military personnel to save the families of war veterans millions of pounds in tax.

He said: “As expected the Chancellor has not increased the inheritance tax threshold in today’s budget, which means that more and more people will be subject to this tax due to the increases in property values. However, I do welcome the announcement that the Government will consult on an exemption for emergency service personnel. If it comes into force it could make a real difference to families whose relatives die in the line of duty. This is something which is currently available to military personnel and as our emergency services put their lives on the line for each and every one of us too, this change to the law is very welcome.”