The Budget 2014: North East business community discuss want they want to see from Wednesday's Budget

The North East business community tell us what they want to see from Wednesday's Budget

North East businesses tell us what they'd like to see in The Budget
North East businesses tell us what they'd like to see in The Budget

Chartered surveyors at Sanderson Weatherall are calling for a re-think on business rates and an increase in stamp duty in Wednesday’s Budget.

Richard Farr, a Partner at the firm, which has offices in Newcastle and on Teesside, said: “The Government decision to delay the re-basing of business rates from 2015 to 2017 is going to hit many smaller companies who will have to pay out on the basis of values set at a peak time. George Osborne can do a lot of good by reversing this decision at the Budget.

“Additionally, with the widespread economic benefits that increased house building can bring, increasing the threshold for Stamp Duty would assist affordability in the market, helping buyers and builders alike.”

Jeremy Middleton CBE
Jeremy Middleton CBE

Jeremy Middleton, CEO of investment firm Middleton Enterprises, said:

“I would urge George Osborne to encourage investors to look towards social enterprises, by setting tax relief incentives. This would be likely to increase the level of investment in social enterprises, which would have a particularly dramatic impact in the North East, where there are thousands of social enterprises which currently find it difficult to raise funds. Tax incentives, along with new sources of funds from sources including the Northern Rock Foundation, could completely change the landscape and facilitate the growth of business with a social conscience, helping wider economic growth in companies which make a real, sustainable and tangible difference to people’s lives.”

Willie O’Neil, Contract Lead at Nortech Oil & Gas, part of the Nortech group of companies, a successful professional engineering design and project management company based at Wynyard, said:

“The North Sea requires a more effective tax regime. The existing structure was created in an era of large low-cost fields when there was a strong case for taxing the economic rent which was being generated.

“A new regime should reflect the current realities. That means strong incentives for both exploration and development with upfront capital allowances. These should be extended to new companies coming in to manage late life development of the remaining reserves in and around existing fields.”

Rachel Turnbull, chief executive of TT2
Rachel Turnbull, chief executive of TT2

Rachel Turnbull, Chief Executive of TT2 Limited, the company which operates the Tyne Tunnels, said:

“Road connectivity is of key importance to the North East economy, both internally and in relation to the rest of the UK.

“What we would like to see in the Budget is a commitment to ensure key projects are carried out as a priority. These include important infrastructure improvements to facilitate traffic flow at key interchanges North and South of the Tyne Tunnels on the A19, at Silverlink and Testos.

“Individual improvements to the road network can only go so far in maximising the potential of investment in infrastructure. However, by looking at the issue holistically a bigger difference can be made for the good of the region.”

The founders of Growthfunders, the North of England’s first online equity crowdfunding platform, are calling for the Chancellor, George Osborne, to provide a boost for new businesses in Wednesday’s Budget. Craig Peterson, co-founder of GrowthFunders, highlighted two ways in which start-ups could be given a helping hand.

He said: “First, to encourage growth, the Chancellor can help create a better economic environment for employment among newer businesses by introducing a reduced rate of National Insurance for businesses in their first five years of operation.

“Second, funding for start-up businesses is vital, so we would like to see an extension of tax breaks for seed capital investment. An increase in the relief threshold for SEIS compliant investments, from the current level of £150,000 to £250,000 will not only make such cash injections more appealing to investors, but also give the recipients a stronger platform on which to build their business.”

Mike Odysseas of Odyssey Systems
Mike Odysseas of Odyssey Systems

Mike Odysseas, Managing Director of Odyssey Systems, said:

“Small businesses are still shouldering too heavy a tax burden. It was great that the Government decided to extend the small business rate relief scheme for another year, but this simply isn’t enough to nurture the green shoots of recovery which are now apparent.

“To enable businesses to maximise growth, I would like to see an indefinite extension of the relief scheme, which would alleviate financial strain and facilitate economic progression.

“The corporation tax cuts we have seen George Osborne make so far have mainly benefitted the 80,000 larger businesses in the UK, rather than the 1.5 million SMEs which make up the bulk of the economy. I’d like to see this balance redressed with a bit of tax relief for smaller companies which would give the UK a real and tangible economic boost.”

Rob Theakston, Managing Director of the Black Sheep Brewery, is calling for a freeze on beer duty from Chancellor George Osborne at this year’s Budget.

Beer duty has increased over 40% in the last four years and, since 1990 there have been 20 increases imposed on drinkers. The UK pays over 40% of the total EU duty bill while only consuming 13% of the total beer volume. The government made a good start last year by scrapping the beer duty escalator and a historic cut on duty, however beer in the UK remains hugely overtaxed.

Rob said: “We are starting to see the green shoots of recovery in the economy, and the British beer and pub industry is a key part of this. A freeze on duty would continue the positive momentum from last year and help secure jobs in the sector as well as supporting over taxed brewers and give a fairer deal to the pint buying public.

“Unless the Government is aiming for beer to become a luxury commodity, continuing sense needs to be taken on this crippling tax.”


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer