Business leaders in Dorset have on the whole welcomed the Chancellor’s Spring Budget.
Dorset Chamber chief executive Ian Girling said, “There’s much to welcome in this bounceback Budget and it shows that the Chancellor has listened to business.
“Its business-friendly measures will stoke confidence, create greater clarity about the way forward and give hope for economic recovery as lockdown eases.
“The extension of the furlough scheme and support for the self-employed, apprenticeship incentives and restart grants will be welcomed by many business in Dorset.
“Measures to support retail, leisure, hospitality and tourism – including business rates and VAT breaks – will give firms in the county a fighting chance to restart and rebuild.
“Some tax rises were inevitable yet the increase in Corporation Tax has been tempered by lower rates for the smallest firms and a new ‘super deduction’ investment allowance.
“It was incredibly disappointing to see Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch miss out on a freeport but we stand ready to seize any similar opportunities in future.
“I hope the fiscal firepower deployed by the Chancellor will now give businesses in Dorset the confidence to plan ahead with greater certainty as they begin to rebuild over the coming months.”
Paul Clarke, chairman of Bournemouth Coastal BID, said, “There was much in the Budget relevant to us and we will now be working to establish exactly what it means for our levy-payers.
“The Chancellor announced restart grants for retail, hospitality and leisure and we’ll be focusing on how our levy-payers can access this money as soon as it becomes available – as we will for the £700m made available for arts, culture and sports.
“The new recovery loan scheme announced will also be of use to our levy-payers and we’ll be examining the detail to ensure local businesses benefit and don’t miss out.
“We also are delighted to hear today that the bid for just over £20m from the Towns Fund specifically for Boscombe was successful, which we have been part of, which will create a major benefit for one of our areas.”
Nigel Smith, managing partner of Ellis Jones Solicitors, which has an office in Wimborne, Ringwood, Canford Cliffs, Bournemouth and Swanage said, “The measures in the Budget are to be broadly welcomed.
“As businesses and individuals we have received support and it is right that we pay back the help that has been provided.
“The extension of the Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday is welcome although this should have been announced very much sooner.
“Leaving this until the Budget has placed undue pressure on those involved in this sector, including the many families seeking to move, local authorities and various professionals.
“Going forward, the future of Stamp Duty needs to be reconsidered as it is a tax which is expensive to administer yet brings in relatively little money.
“The recent holiday has clearly demonstrated how a reduction can stimulate the market and how beneficial this would be on a permanent basis. Let’s keep people and the economy moving!
“One of the first things new homeowners do is order kitchens, bathrooms and carpets, which would raise 20 per cent VAT and be great for the retailers and tradesman involved as well as the economy.
“I hope the Government seriously considers the impact of the Stamp Duty holiday over the past months and has a major rethink about the future of this outdated tax.”
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