Cautious welcome given to Budget

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The slew of measures in this week’s Government Budget to kickstart the stagnant economy have received a cautious welcome from business leaders.

As growth forecasts were slashed, the Chancellor George Osborne grabbed headlines with plans to transform the housing market by introducing interest free loans worth upto 20 per cent of the value of new build homes and £130 billion in mortgage lending.

Cllr Anne Gower, cabinet member for housing at St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said she was ‘cautiously optimistic’ about the move.

She said: “We need to be very careful that we get a fair share of this money in St Edmundsbury.”

Bury St Edmunds Chamber of Commerce welcomed the cut in Corporation tax to 20 per cent and new employment allowance to slash National Insurance bills by £2,000 for every firm.

Vice chairman Matt Moss said: “The Corporation tax does make us very competitive in terms of the other economies in Europe. Does it affect small businesses? Not really because they are paying 20 per cent anyway.

“There wasn’t a lot there that we didn’t already anticipate. The Chancellor had his hands tied with very little room to manoeuvre.”

Bury brewery Greene King hailed the decision to axe the beer duty escalator and reduce beer duty by 1p.

Rooney Anand, chief executive officer, said: “These measures are a real boost to the great British pub.”

Bosses at Greene King met with Treasury ministers earlier in the year following an appeal to Bury MP David Ruffley,

Mr Ruffley campaigned against the planned fuel duty increase which was shelved this week. He said: “This is a welcome relief for hard pressed drivers who will be saving on average £7 a week as a result of this increase not going ahead.” A 20 per cent tax relief on childcare of upto £6,000 per child was also confirmed in the Budget.