Budget response

Published:  24 June, 2010

The government's budget announcement has inspired a mixed response from the industry.

The Forum of Private Business believes the latter may be implemented better than expected, as chief executive Phil Orford said: "The rise in capital gains tax had proved controversial with business owners ever since the idea was first put forward, but the 28% rate is a gentler increase that many people were expecting.

"More importantly, the rise in the entrepreneurs' relief threshold to £5 million is more than we could have hoped for and it should ensure that most small-business owners aren't penalised too heavily when they come to sell their companies."

The National Association for Professional Inspectors & Testers (NAPIT) is positive on the whole. Chief executive John Andrews said: "I think the budget will be of benefit, rather than a hindrance to our trade-member companies, with a number of measures being designed to encourage small and medium business growth and support for new job creation with relief on the National Insurance burden for new employees."

However, Grant Thornton's head of construction, Phil Westerman, has expressed concern about the implications of the VAT increase, as he believes "it will lead to more cash-strapped consumers resorting to cash-in-hand payments to builder[s] for home improvements to avoid paying a higher rate of VAT. This is a practice that can only lead to the unfortunate promotion of a cowboy culture."

Of the VAT increase, Worcester Bosch Group's head of sustainable development, Neil Schofield, said: "The fact that it has been delayed until January 2011 is positive because in the second half of this year, we could see consumers make that large purchase sooner rather than later to avoid the increase. For some this may mean a new heating system, which will be a boost for the industry."

But the announcement raised another concern for Schofield, as he continued: "What was missing from the Emergency Budget was any certainty over where things stand with the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). There was no mention of RHI in the speech or budget document and there has been no mention of it since the coalition took over. So it's becoming conspicuous by its absence."

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