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SCC Response to the Spring Budget

Posted: 9th March 2017

• Scottish Government must use some of the £350 million additional funds to invest in social care skills and to bridge skills gaps
• Rise in self-employed NI and reduction in dividend allowance will make life more difficult for those who set themselves up in business
• North Sea long life asset tax review is a good start

Commenting on the Chancellor’s Spring Budget Statement, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

“With many of this budget’s key announcements having been trailed in advance, this was a budget which contained few surprises. From a business perspective, there were both positives and negatives but the Scottish Government has a major opportunity to put the £350 million additional funding from this Budget to good use in growing the Scottish economy.”

Liz Cameron went on to comment on specific aspects of the Budget:

On the £350 million of additional funding for the Scottish Government:

“This additional funding needs to be invested wisely. The Scottish Government could use some of these resources to support businesses in the social care sector, to invest in the training and recruitment of more home care workers, and to support new businesses to be set up in this area.

“The Scottish Government could also consider using this funding towards developing and upskilling existing employees, particularly for those over the age of 25, to help fill the major skills gaps. We must also develop the skills of our unemployed and underemployed and ensure that these talents can make an effective contribution to our economy in areas such as digital, engineering, and many others.”

On changes to National Insurance rates for the self-employed:

“The Chancellor may paint this as a move towards the equalisation of tax rates between the employed and self-employed but the reality is that this is a tax increase on the self-employed at a time of economic uncertainty. Coupled with the decision to reduce the tax-free dividend allowance for businesses from £5,000 to £2,000 from April next year, these are measures that will make life that little bit more difficult for individuals and businesses.”

On Oil and Gas:

“The Chancellor’s confirmation that an expert advisory panel is being set up to consider how the fiscal regime can support the transfer of late life assets is a welcome first step towards ensuring that the North Sea sustains its economic contribution in the long term and maximises the recovery in the nearer term. Our hope is that not only will the expert report be available by the time of the Autumn Budget but that concrete measures will be announced at that time too.”

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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