Budget offers help for rural businesses

A freeze on petrol duty rises and cuts to employers’ national insurance contribution for small businesses announced in the 2013 Budget could help horticultural businesses, organisations have said.

Chancellor George Osborne announced that the planned three per cent fuel duty rise in September would be cancelled.

Also, small businesses will get a £2,000 allowance before paying employer National Insurance contributions and Osborne cut corporation tax from 21% to 20%, merging the small company and main rate.

Landmark Systems managing director Nigel Parsons said the decisions will come as a welcome boost for many farmers and rural businesses, with a number of smaller rural businesses paying no national insurance at all.

"Our clients have watched their overheads in almost every area rise significantly in the last 12 months and that has put enormous pressure on countryside businesses," he said.

"These tax adjustments will provide a welcome glimmer of hope in an otherwise difficult financial climate."

The Forum of private business said the £2000 break was a real boon for smaller employees but criticised the lack of action on business rates. It also called for a fuel stabilising system to protect businesses from fluctuating oil prices.

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