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[ 21-03-2012 ]

Reacting to today’s Budget speech by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: 
“This is a Budget that was about revisiting government priorities and the result has been a positive one for businesses in Scotland.  We are very pleased that cuts in the headline rate of Corporation Tax have been accelerated and extended.  The 2% cut to 24% in April will bring early cheer to many Scottish businesses and the news that the rate will continue to fall to 22% by 2014 gives us confidence for future planning.
“Also welcome is some long awaited positive news for our video games and animation industries in the form of Corporation Tax reliefs and the confirmation that three of our new Enterprise Areas in Dundee, Irvine and Nigg will benefit from 100% capital allowances.  Changes to the oil and gas fiscal regime may also produce material benefits in terms of decommissioning and for new developments west of Shetland. 
“Edinburgh’s position as a key city for investment in superfast broadband had already been announced last November, but the news that £50 million has also been set aside to assist smaller cities provides a great incentive to Scotland’s other cities, including the newly confirmed City of Perth.  We also welcome the investment to deliver better mobile telephone coverage along the route of the A82. 
“Whilst the reduction of the VAT rate to 5% for Scotland’s ski lifts is welcome, it comes short of our business needs in Scotland.  Instead, the Government should show the ambition displayed by a number of our international competitors and reduce VAT to 5% for the whole of our tourism and leisure industry – a move that would guarantee real benefits for one of our most valuable industries.
“For the Scottish Government, it is important that it puts its £20.3 million of consequential funding to good use.  Scotland’s businesses would very much welcome the use of some of this windfall to deliver a small business loan fund aimed at tackling short term cash flow issues – a significant barrier to business in Scotland today.  Building such a loan fund would address a significant market failing and would help to fill in the gap that existing public and privately backed business finance schemes are currently missing.”