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Chancellor hands out measures to boost business

Published: 19 March 2014
Chancellor George Osborne unveiled a package of measures to help businesses that invest, manufacture and export, when he delivered his Budget today.
Chancellor hands out measures to boost business
Firstly, the Annual Investment Allowance of £250,000, which had been due to expire at the end of this year, will now be doubled to £500,000 and extended to the end of 2015.

Mr Osborne told The House of Commons that 99.8% of businesses would now get a 100% investment allowance: "Almost every business across Britain will pay no upfront tax when they invest in the future," he said.

There was good news for companies that export too, with the amount of government credit available to support overseas sales doubled, to £3bn.

"And I can announce that from today the interest rates we charge on that lending will be cut by a third," said Mr Osborne. "Instead of having the least competitive export finance in Europe we will have the most competitive."

He also outlined a series of measures to help manufacturers cut their energy bills.

Commenting on the announcements, Phil Orford, chief executive of the Forum of Private Business, said that there were "sizeable gains for UK manufacturers here, in particular over the next few years. On export, the Chancellor has thrown his weight behind getting more businesses exporting. Our membership is confident about growth but much of that growth is UK-based so we needed to see such a commitment, though we will continue to work with the Treasury and others to develop even healthier export subsidies for business."

He also said that the Budget helped tackle the cost of energy, "and makes good on the commitment trailed before the Budget to support those that look to invest, either in the UK - with a more extensive Annual Investment Allowance - or abroad, with a £3bn export support budget."

In addition, the Chancellor confirmed an extension of the Help to Buy equity loan scheme - which is widely seen as helping to boost the DIY and home improvement markets - for the rest of the decade. He said it would see 120,000 new homes being built.

The House of Commons was told that GDP is now forecast to grow by 2.7% this year and 2.3% in 2015, then by 2.6% in 2016 and 2017 and 2.5% in 2018.


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