Chancellor George Osborne will deliver his autumn statement today. The Press business editor Julie Hayes speaks to business leaders in York and North Yorkshire about their expectations.
THE managing director of Black Sheep Brewery is calling for indications of a beer tax rise break from Mr Osborne.
Rob Theakston of the Masham-based brewery, said unless the Government was aiming for beer to become a luxury commodity, it needed to put the brakes on the perennial tax increase.
He said: “While I understand that the Government needs to boost its coffers to meet the hard economic targets it has set, it is time for a bit of a break in the constant rises in beer tax.
“People are having to deal with the rising cost of many foodstuffs imposed upon them because of external influences on such things as the price of raw materials, so another increase in the beer tax would add more pain to the pocket.”
Beer duty has increased by more than 40 per cent in the last four years and since 1990 there have been 20 increases imposed on drinkers.
The UK pays more than 40 per cent of the total EU duty bill while only consuming 13 per cent of the total beer volume, he said.
WEALTH management business Pearson Jones, based at Nortminster Business Park, has warned that wealthy people’s pensions may be targeted in the statement after the so-called mansion tax, a higher rate of council tax for luxury homes backed by the Liberal Democrats , was vetoed.
Wealth management director John Metcalf said that soon after becoming chancellor George Osborne cut the annual allowance on pensions savings before they are taxed from £255,000 to £50,000. A new £40,000 threshold will bank the Chancellor another £600 million, while a cut to £30,000 would raise £1.8 billion, he said. But he warns that such cuts would hit middle-class savers.
“Although some may feel that £40,000 is still a great deal for one person to save in a year, many higher earners do accelerate contributions as they near retirement, making bigger contributions after their children have grown up, their mortgages are paid off and they face the reality of how much they need to boost their fund by to generate a decent retirement income.
THE Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has called on the Government to set up a small business bank in its autumn statement.
It said this should increase competition in the banking sector and improve the funding situation for small businesses.
It has also urged the Chancellor to reform of the labour market and extend the National Insurance contributions holiday scheme, as well as scrap the 3p fuel duty rise.
Simon Williams, North Yorkshire regional chairman for the FSB, said: “This is a very important statement from the Chancellor. At the half-way point of the Parliament, the Government will be judged on its actions. There is no argument that they’ve had a tough economic backdrop to work with, but small firms in North Yorkshire are still feeling the pressure, so need a clear plan for growth to get them back on track is needed.
“Small business policymaking has been subject to a range of confusing patchwork approaches that have often had minimal impact on the ground. We want to see a clear plan of action from the Chancellor which he can take forward to Budget 2013, which will detail the long-term support small firms in North Yorkshire need. Key to this is going to be the small business bank and eventually how it can become the Small Business Administration supporting small businesses over the long-term.”
BOOSTING the north of England’s economy is central to rebalancing the UK economy, the IPPR’s Northern Economic Future Commission has warned the Chancellor in advance of the autumn statement.
The think-tank, which includes Julia Unwin, chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said the northern economy could boost the UK economy by £41 billion if it is helped to grow.
In a 12-point plan it suggested increasing private sector employment, apprenticeships, devolving skills and welfare-to-work funding to local authorities, city-regions and LEPs, forming a Northern Innovation Council and decentralising transport powers to local authorities and passenger transport executives, and creating a new body – Transport For The North.
Ed Cox, director of IPPR North, said: “Far from lagging behind the rest of the country, if the north of England was to emulate its northern European neighbours then it might just lead the UK economy out of its present lopsided doldrums and towards a more progressive and sustainable economic future.”