Fuel duty cut is seen as boost for business

BUSINESS leaders in East Anglia have welcomed the Chancellor’s Budget cuts in fuel duty and Corporation Tax, but warned that the Government still had major issues to address.

Andy Wood, joint chairman of the New Anglia Local Enterprise partnership for Suffolk and Norfolk, said: “Many of our successful industries have been hit by the high price of petrol and today’s announcements on fuel duty are good news for business.

“It must not, though, be at the expense of investment in initiatives to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. There is a great deal of expertise here in New Anglia and along the energy coast on sustainable energy and this must continue to have the support of the Government.”

David Ralph, chief executive of the Haven Gateway Partnership, added: “The deferment of the 5p a litre fuel duty is a very positive step for the local ports and logistics industry. Soaring fuel prices have created a real threat to many businesses, especially hauliers.”

Chris Parkhouse, East of England regional chairman for the Institute of Directors, said: “The IoD supports the Chancellor’s Budget for growth and welcomes the acceleration in the reduction in Corporation Tax to 26%.”

Jim Davison, regional director of the EEF manufacturers’ organisation, added: “The Chancellor has clearly acknowledged that we are in an international race for investment and that manufacturing is at the heart of this.”

And John Dugmore chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “Despite tight fiscal conditions, we are encouraged that the Chancellor has prioritised business growth and private-sector expansion alongside deficit reduction.”

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However, Iain Wicks, Essex chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said that while the cut in Corporation Tax was welcome it would make no difference to “small businesses struggling to keep their heads above water”.