NI Chamber calls on Osborne to deliver ‘budget for business’

UK Chancellor will make his spring statement to the House of Commons this Wednesday

Chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne. photograph: bloomberg

Chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne. photograph: bloomberg

Mon, Mar 17, 2014, 01:00

British chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne will deliver his 2014 budget this Wednesday, making his spring statement to the House of Commons.

Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce has called on Mr Osborne to deliver a “budget for business”.

Urging the British government to sign off a budget that boosts business confidence and creates an environment for investment and growth, NI chamber president Mark Nodder said recent national initiatives, particularly those around finance, have not been tailored to meet the needs of Northern Ireland’s private sector.

“There are a number of measures the chancellor can implement including the expansion of support for companies exporting to overseas markets, the introduction of alternative (non-bank) sources of business growth finance and the extension of the growth voucher scheme to Northern Ireland.”

He said businesses should have access to a wider range of finance options and more extensive guidance on the most appropriate funding sources to meet their business needs.

Measures announced in the autumn statement included plans to cut the main rate of corporation tax to 21 per cent from April, a move which appears to be in response to pressure from companies which argue they can easily set up elsewhere in today’s global economy.

Mr Osborne has also said he plans to help boost investment and exports. There is also likely to be a raft of anti-avoidance measures in an attempt to cut the country’s budget deficit.

The British government has projected that by tightening rules on legal tax avoidance the state could net £6.8 billion (€8.1 billion) in new revenue over the next six years.

With Scotland’s independence referendum taking place in September, there is also potential that Mr Osborne could add a further political dimension to his budget, by extending measures which would make the UK a more competitive place to do business.