Budget 2014: Businesses disappointed over absence of rate reform

York Press: York Science Park which hosted York Reacts York Science Park which hosted York Reacts

BUSINESS leaders in York have heralded today's Budget as a "Budget for growth" though have expressed disappointment at a lack of action over business rates.

Delegates gathered to watch the Budget at York Science Park today at an event organised by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) called York Reacts.

Simon Williams, regional chairman of the North Yorkshire FSB, said: "There wasn't a massive amount to boost business, but there wasn't anything to hinder it either.

"Expenditure on the roads and the £200 million to get rid of potholes is very welcome. There has been far too little spent on the road infrastrucutre. That along with scrapping the fuel duty rise will be welcomed by many haulage companies."

Speaking after the Budget Tracey Smith, managing director at York Science Park, said: "Business rates aren't fit for purpose at the minute. I'm disappointed there wasn't even a mention given that so many business group have been calling for a reform."

Richard Flanagan, director at Flanagan James Property Consultants added: "Business rates are based on property values in 2008, so are already based on a figure which was inflated.

"What I would like to have seen is an announcement that we are going to have a revision of business rates. I'd also hoped for an improvement on empty business rates, which currently is a tax on failure. This needs addressing so we can start attracting speculative commercial development."

Suzanne Burnett, York and North Yorkshire Chamber president welcomed a number of measures including £3 billion funding to boost exports, business investment tax relief of 30 per cent, and spending on infrastructure.

She said: “Extending the Apprenticeships Grant for Employers was one of the key requests of the Chamber movement and so we are pleased to see that included.

"It seems the Chancellor has listened to businesses this time: concerns previously raised on energy costs, export finance, transport resilience have all seen some form of action today.”

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