Caithness Chamber of Commerce Budget Comment
Published 18 Mar 2016Commenting on the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s recent UK Budget speech, Trudy Morris, Chief Executive of Caithness Chamber of Commerce, said:
“The Chancellor made a number of announcements that are good news for businesses in Caithness, Scotland and across the rest of the UK.
“The promise to cut Corporation Tax to 17% is a welcome reduction in the burden on businesses and will help boost confidence in those looking to invest in the UK. Likewise, the reduction in the headline rate of Capital Gains Tax to 20% (and to 10% for basic rate taxpayers), will encourage much-needed investment in business.
“The Chancellor’s announcement that he will be more than doubling the threshold for small business rate relief to £15,000, while not directly affecting businesses in Caithness, is a welcome recognition of the impact that rates have on small businesses across the UK, and should serve to inform the Scottish Government in their planned review of the business rates system in Scotland.
“As with our colleagues in Scottish Chambers of Commerce, we would argue that the business rates system in Scotland is not fit for purpose, and we urge the Scottish Government to consider radically reviewing the system in order to lessen this burden on small businesses across the country.
“The scrapping of the Petroleum Revenue, and the reduction of the supplementary charge on oil and gas to 10% is welcome news for the hard-hit oil and gas industry in Scotland. The downturn in the industry has had impacts across the country, including in Caithness, and we welcome the Chancellor’s support for the sector at this difficult time.
“Finally, the announcement of £730m in funding for future Contracts for Difference auctions is on the face of it good news for the renewables industry - a key future growth sector for Caithness. However the UK Government’s Energy policy leaves a lot to be desired. The CfD round was postponed from October and we wait to hear when the next one will actually start. This is key to the Moray Offshore (MORL) wind development going ahead. So much focus has been put on new nuclear south of the border, that they have been neglecting other forms of energy, where much needed investment and support is still needed. Our future energy choices must be reliable, be consistently able to meet the base load demand at the lowest possible unit cost, offer an equitable distribution system and be sustainable in the long term. We would urge the UK Government to get on and launch the next CfD round and ensure that Scottish developments such as MORL get an equitable slice.”
The Chamber welcomes any business comment on how these Budget measures will or will not benefit their business. The Chamber can be contacted direct via 01847 890076 or firstname.lastname@example.org