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Chancellor urged to pull out stops for rural businesses in budget

Alison RobinsonOne of Yorkshire’s leading experts on rural business has called on the Chancellor to “pull out all the stops” in Wednesday’s budget to help the region’s rural economy.

Alison Robinson, of specialist landed estate and rural business accountancy firm Saffery Champness, said new initiatives were needed to encourage investment in buildings, machinery and equipment.

Ms Robinson, a partner in the national firm’s Harrogate office said: 

Any measures that would reduce the transport and distribution costs would encourage the growth and financial health of rural businesses,” said

The planned reduction in the Annual Investment Allowance for 100 per cent tax relief on qualifying capital expenditure from £100,000 currently to £25,000 across the board from April is a step in the wrong direction, and we would like to see the Chancellor re- thinking this.

She said postponement of the planned three pence rise in fuel duty from January to August was helpful but insisted more needed to be done to reduce the impact of high fuel prices.

She also urged the Chancellor to consider measures to boost tourism, including a reduction in VAT for related businesses.

Ms Robinson added:

A fuel duty rebate for people and businesses in rural areas, which already exists in Scotland, would provide a much needed boost.

VAT at 20 per cent hits the pockets of visitors to the countryside hard and a reduction in the rate of VAT targeted at tourist attractions and accommodation would encourage people to holiday in the UK and bring wide economic benefits for the whole economy.

Many EU countries choose to apply a reduced rate of VAT to their tourism industries, whereas the UK does not and I believe this needs to change.

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