§ Mr. David Shaw
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the achievements of(a) his policies and (b) his Department in helping small businesses over the last 12 months as against the previous 12 months; if he will publish the performance indicators by which his Department monitors those achievements and the statistical results of such monitoring; and if he will set out his targets to help small businesses in the next year.
§ Mr. Nelson
The Government's overall economic objective is to promote sustained economic growth, by establishing a stable microeconomic environment. Small businesses stand to benefit from such conditions.
Particular Budget measures aimed at helping small businesses to become established and grow include:
- implementing a simpler and more efficient regime for assessing personal tax;
- proposals for aligning income tax and national insurance contributions;
- simplifying the audit requirement for most small companies; relief on capital gains where proceeds are reinvested in qualifying unquoted trading companies;
- extension of CGT retirement relief;
- reduction in employers' NICS;
- protection from costs of changes to statutory sick pay;
- halving of real increases in business rates for businesses in transition to higher rates;
- increasing the limits for small companies rate of corporation tax by 20 per cent;
- consultation on a new type of investment, a venture capital trust, which will channel savings specifically into unquoted trading companies;
- the introduction of a new scheme to replace the business expansion scheme, the enterprise investment scheme, to encourage direct equity investment in unquoted trading companies.
In the recent competitiveness White Paper, the Government also announced a number of measures to combat late payment, a problem which has particularly affected small businesses in recent years.
The Chancellor is also currently conducting, with the help of the Financial Secretary and myself, an examination of external finance to business to identify whether there are any market imperfections which may distort the flows of finance, and if there are, to consider how present arrangements can be improved.