Rise in NICs for self-employed a ‘blow to entrepreneurs’, say chambers in Suffolk and Essex

Suffolk Chamber chief executive John Dugmore

Suffolk Chamber chief executive John Dugmore - Credit: Archant

Suffolk and Essex chambers of commerce sounded notes of disappointment following today’s Budget, although there was a welcome for measures to boost technical qualifications and research and development.

David Burch, director of policy at Essex Chambers

David Burch, director of policy at Essex Chambers - Credit: Archant

John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “Our immediate reaction is that this is quite a disappointing budget for the business community of Suffolk.

“Raising NICs for the self-employed and reducing the tax-free dividend from £5k to £32k are below-the-belt blows for our entrepreneurs.

“The £690m fund announced to tackle urban road congestion sounds useful, but we need to understand the mechanism for how it will be allocated. We need now to continue to work with our public sector partners to ensure that Suffolk’s major towns are at the head of the national queue.”

However, he added: “We welcome the commitments in the Budget to technical education, digital connectivity, easier R&D tax credits and a one-year delay to digital tax reporting for the very smallest firms.”

David Burch, director of policy at Essex Chambers of Commerce, said: “we had been expecting minimal change in the Chancellor’s announcements and this proved to be the case.

“The commitments to improving and simplifying technical qualifications are very welcome along with easier R&D tax credits and a one-year delay to digital tax reporting for very small businesses.

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“It was also pleasing to hear further commitments to improving digital connectivity across the country, something that is very important for a rural county like Essex.”

However, he said: “On a more general note we would like to have seen a greater recognition by the Government of the continuing need to invest in our infrastructure in not just the Midlands and the North but also in the South and East of the country. We are currently net contributors to the Treasury but that could easily be lost without investment to help boost productivity”

And he added: “Whilst we understand the need to try and create a fair tax system, hikes to dividend taxes and National Insurance for the self-employed will be viewed far less positively by existing and budding entrepreneurs.”