8 ways the Autumn Statement was good news

The chancellor received a mixed review of the 2014 Autumn Statement.

Among all the measures businesses were disgruntled about, there were plenty that had them jumping for joy (metaphorically speaking).

Here are some of the more positive reactions.

1. “The business rates system needs to change”

Liz Peace, chief executive of the British Property Federation said:

 “Basing a property tax on nine-year-old valuations is simply unfair and inefficient, and other countries have shown that with the use of technology you can design a far more responsive system.

“Undertaking a root and branch review of the system is a big decision which many politicians have shied away from, and it makes today’s announcement particularly welcome. We hope it is no-holds-barred and will deliver something fit for the 21st century, and one that benefits all sectors of the economy.”

2. “The higher rate tax threshold is heading in the right direction”

Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors, said:

“We’re pleased that that the higher rate tax threshold is heading in the right direction, but more can be done to end the scandal of fiscal drag and we look forward to the details of how the Government will meet its ambition to raise the threshold to £50,000.

“It’s also vital that our economic debate recognises the share of revenue paid by the country’s top earners. The Chancellor acknowledged that the top 20 per cent pay more in tax than the remaining 80 per cent. The greatest burden is indeed being borne by those with the broadest shoulders.”

3. “We warmly welcome the financial support for postgraduate science students”

John Cridland, CBI director general, said:

“We welcome the continued commitment to deficit reduction, but real challenges lie ahead to reduce future public spending, and fresh thinking on public services will be essential.

“In the long term, growth is about people, science and infrastructure, and we warmly welcome the financial support for postgraduate science students.”

4. “It’s great that investors will no longer have to pay income tax on any bad debt they experience”

James Meekings, co-founder of Funding Circle said:

“This change in the tax system will make lending to small businesses via our marketplace much fairer for individual investors, putting them in an equal position to larger lenders such as banks. It’s something we have campaigned for since we launched four years ago, so we’re delighted with today’s news.

“It will have a hugely positive impact on the peer-to-peer lending industry and is a win-win-win for investors, borrowers and the economy at large.”

5. “Right to scrap cliff edges in stamp duty, which have led to huge distortions in the housing market”

Mark Littlewood, director general at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“The Chancellor was right to scrap cliff edges in stamp duty, which have led to huge distortions in the housing market, although the top rates are perniciously high. Other measures are unclear: it’s hard to see how the proposed tax changes on multinational companies could work, whilst changes to bank tax profits are both retrospective and dangerous.”

6. “The £900 million of extra funding for small businesses… is particularly welcome”

Mark Boleat, policy chairman at the City of London Corporation said:

“The £900 million of extra funding for small businesses in the Funding for Lending extension is particularly welcome. The City is home to nearly 15,000 SMEs and they are the engine of our economy and have powered our recovery through innovation.  Access to finance is essential for in ensuring that we can continue to lead the world on technology innovation.” 

7. “The announcement today will boost business confidence and help more companies break into new and emerging markets”

David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said:

“It is encouraging to see the Chancellor announce much needed support for UK exporters. British firms need all the help they can get when looking to trade overseas and the announcement today will boost business confidence and help more companies break into new and emerging markets.

“While more still needs to be done, this announcement is reassurance from the government of the importance of driving export growth and rebalancing the economy over the months and years ahead. It is remains to be seen whether investing more in existing programmes will produce an increase in exports. ”

8. “A focus on shale gas is a welcome move that should increase support locally”

Chris Lewis, partner at EY said:

“The pace of shale gas exploration has been painfully slow with no planning applications approved yet. With that in mind the announcement of a Sovereign Wealth Fund in the North with a focus on shale gas is a welcome move that should increase support locally, as well as ensure that communities benefit from skills and jobs.”

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