25 Mar 2010

UK budget measures aimed at helping business

6:45 am on 25 March 2010

British Chancellor Alistair Darling has unveiled in his pre-election Budget a package of measures designed to help UK businesses.

The budget deficit was now expected to be Stg 167 billion this year rather than the Stg 178 billion that had been forecast.

To aid what Mr Darling calls fledgling businesses, as well as existing ones, business rates will be cut for one year from October.

He also plans to double the annual investment allowance to Stg 100,000 and axe stamp duty on homes under Stg 250,000 for first-time buyers.

Mr Darling also unveiled a series of measures aimed at clawing back tax from high earners, freezing the inheritance tax threshold for another four years, in order to help pay for the costs of care for older people.

He announced the end of some personal tax allowances on those earning more than Stg 150,000.

Mr Darling says the government will stick to a 2.2% real terms rise on spending this year but warns spending cuts after 2011 will be the toughest for decades.