Small businesses welcome Budget 2016

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The chancellor has delivered a Budget to help the nation's small businesses

Small businesses across the UK have woken up this morning to a potential new era of prosperity, as much of the new measures being implemented in the 2016 annual Budget appear to be targeted at helping this group to flourish.

Chancellor George Osborne delivered this year's Budget to a packed House of Commons on Wednesday (March 16th) and taking centre stage in his speech was the announcement that Small Business Rates Relief will be doubled.

This is a significant decision for the nation's small to medium-sized enterprises, as more than 600,000 businesses could now be lifted above the threshold for having to pay this form of tax in the months ahead.

Moreover, the good news for smaller firms did not stop there, as the chancellor also announced that corporation tax is to be cut to a level of 17 per cent from 2020 and while this may not impact businesses directly today, it does represent a long-term commitment to helping these companies to grow.

For the wider business sector, there was also plenty of positive news in this year's Budget, with the chancellor confirming that the government will continue to invest in national infrastructure in the coming years, with a focus on developing the new HS3 rail scheme and also bolstering the nation's roads network to provide better connectivity for businesses in the years ahead.

Furthermore, companies that operate fleets of vehicles will also have been pleased to learn that fuel duty has been frozen at its present level for another year - the sixth consecutive annual Budget announcement in which this has been the case.

It means that fuel costs for businesses will remain cheaper for the foreseeable future - especially given the low price of oil at present that has helped to push down prices at forecourts up and down the UK.

Finally, Mr Osborne revealed that there is to be an increased devolution of powers to councils in the coming months, as the government hopes to ensure local authorities are playing a more central role in delivering business support and economic growth in their area.

Responding to the positive news, policy director for the Federation of Small Businesses Mike Cherry stated that this year's Budget has been one that ticks many of the boxes in supporting small business growth across the UK in the months and years to come.

He added: "In a Budget constrained by both the need to reduce the deficit and the economic outlook, the chancellor has listened to our calls for the tax system to be made simpler for small businesses and the self-employed and taken important action on business rates."

"The combined measures announced on business rates - the single biggest tax cut in the Budget - will be viewed by our members as a welcome and important step on the road to fundamental reform."

Mr Cherry concluded that, altogether, the measures unveiled this week should go a long way towards helping to drive enhanced productivity and boost small business confidence levels in the months ahead.