The general consensus amongst Cornish businesses regarding the budget is that it is; business friendly, perhaps rather dull for some more established businesses who were hoping for something more robust but no massive “bear traps”. Depending on your business status and sector maybe even quite helpful.
Ann Vandermeulen, Development Manager for FSB Cornwall said: ”If you were to be playing “Budget Bingo” and ticking off successes against our Submission to the Chancellor, FSB’s business asks on behalf of its members would have got you a line or two but perhaps not quite a “full house”.
"However, very pleasing that the organisation was recognised in the speech and many of our suggestions taken up proving that the Chancellor is listening to us and Cornish businesses will have helped to shape that submission”.
She went on to outline issues that Cornish businesses would be reflecting on most; “Specific to Cornwall, not tinkering with the VAT threshold at this time was really pleasing as we have a lot of very small businesses in the county who would have suffered and thrown to the “admin lions” should the threshold have been reduced.
"Also the “fuel duty freeze” is always a welcome phrase in rural areas and the Chancellor was mindful of the fact that a good number of our business vehicles in the county are diesel vans and has not included them in his tax plans to discourage diesel vehicle use. So some clear wins there.
"The business rates measures announced will be pleasing to many who were going to be subject to the Staircase Tax as there are lots of premises that would be affected in a place like Cornwall. Also taking revaluations from 5 years down to 3 years is hugely positive as again, particularly in Cornwall we notice the changing value of property more than most in places like St Ives, for example. Also the £1000 relief continuing for pubs along with a freeze on alcohol duty for all but the most troublesome of beverages will help out local hostelries just a little.
"Also good to see smaller Cornish house builders getting some support and some review of planning processes however those in the industry do still feel that the measure here for Cornwall were something of a drop in the ocean. However, abolishing stamp duty on homes up to £300,000 for first time buyers may make just enough difference in what a local person could now afford and enable them to buy locally. Good for our young entrepreneurs, family businesses wanting to employ family members and retaining a pool of future employees generally.
"Finally on infrastructure, the £500m on 5G and broadband is welcome and we really hope that some of this can be used to plug those persistent “not spots” in our most rural areas. Whilst we did hear a good deal about more cash for towns and roads from places far beyond the Tamar Bridge there was a bright bit of news for the A390 between St Austell and the A30 in £79M being ring-fenced for that project which people in Roche and surrounding villages had long been pleading for.”
As always the chancellors speech is a large body of work which needs finer analysis given the luxury of time in the days that follow the Budget so there are more details to extract. However, for now little or no damage done and some help pledged.