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VIDEO: Business delight at Autumn Statement

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Fylde coast businesses have welcomed the help the Chancellor has given them in his Autumn Statement.

Damian Walmsley, from accountants Moore and Smalley, said: “While this was a fiscally neutral Autumn Statement there were a few sweeteners for the business community.

“The cap on the inflation increase in business rates for all premises at two per cent from next April will be welcomed, as will moves to allow businesses to pay their rates in 12 monthly instalments instead of 10, which should help businesses manage their cashflow more effectively.

“The £1,000 discount on business rates for premises with a rateable value up to £50,000 should also help boost smaller businesses on the high street. News that fuel duty is to be frozen again will be good news for businesses such as transport and haulage businesses, with government claiming that the freezes have saved drivers 20p per litre.

“Manufacturers will be encouraged by news that HMRC will fund apprenticeships directly with an extra 20,000 higher apprenticeships confirmed. The chancellor also pledged to expand export finance to £50bn to help British businesses boost exports.”

Babs Murphy, Chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce said: “While Britain’s economy is improving, and our businesses report strong confidence, the UK is still some way from achieving the truly great economy we need.

“Business will be pleased that the Chancellor has finally acted on business rates bills after years of relentless increases that sucked the life out of businesses. The measures announced to curb business rate increases are positive, but not strong enough to boost companies’ cash flow and investment. The Chancellor should have been bolder, freezing business rates entirely. Restoring stability to the public finances remains crucial to businesses.”

Chris Bardin, director at Taylor Patterson, said: “The hoped-for business rate reduction has not materialised but the two per cent cap on business rates will help.

“Similarly, the National Insurance payment breaks for employers of staff aged 16-21 will also create genuine financial savings for SMEs with a younger workforce. It will also provide an incentive to employ young people, which is good news for places with high youth unemployment like Blackpool.”

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