Autumn Budget 2018: Lincolnshire businesses have their say

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Chancellor Philip Hammond yesterday delivered his 2018 Autumn Budget, which has been welcomed by many Lincolnshire businesses, with £900 million of business rates support for small businesses and £1.6bn of new investment to support the government’s industrial strategy.

Headline points from the announcement on Monday, October 29, include stamp duty being abolished for all first-time buyers on shared-ownership homes up to £500,000, and business rates for small English retailers to be cut by one third over the next two years.

The Chancellor’s Budget yesterday also included measures in several areas of tax, expenditure and public policy that are specifically targeted at helping the UK’s small business community.

More reactions from Lincolnshire businesses:

Paving the way for a brighter future

Minster Surfacing MD, Bruce Spencer-Knott said: “As he stood to deliver his Budget, Philip Hammond said his budget “paves the way for a brighter future”, and in a literal sense, he’s right.

“I’m really pleased with the extra £420m which the Chancellor is giving to councils for repairing roads and fixing potholes.

“This, and the additional £28.8bn to upgrade England’s motorways and major local routes will see real improvements in the country’s infrastructure.

“I know that some in the asphalt industry have said that this is far short of the money that’s needed to fix all the potholes in England, but when it comes to roads, every penny is money well spent and this investment will go a very long way to upgrading the nation’s roads.

“I’m relieved that the Chancellor has once again frozen fuel duty. Although we do our bit to reduce and off-set our carbon footprint, diesel and petrol are a necessity in my line of work and so I’m glad that we’ve been spared from a duty increase.

“In-all, this was a refreshingly optimistic Budget with lots of good news on increased employment, reduced borrowing and continuing growth with some welcome tax reliefs and much needed investments that will drive the country forward.”

A cautious welcome

Councillor Richard Davies, Executive Member for Highways and Transportation at Lincolnshire County Council. Photo: Sarah Harrison-Barker

Councillor Richard Davies, Executive Councillor for Highways, Transport and IT at Lincolnshire County Council told CityX: “A cautious welcome but we need central government to address the fundamental issues of equality of investment and a long term funding strategy.”

Not enough for our roads

Michael Pace at Andrew & Co Solicitors said: “So instead of £1bn the councils are to share £420 million.

“Split between the counties this will not amount to a great deal and will not allow for complete rebuilding as many roads need after years of neglect.”

‘Anti-climatic for Generation Rent’

Co-founder of Lincoln proptech startup, John Lomas said: “Once again the Budget has been anti-climatic for Generation Rent as the Chancellor has done nothing for the millions suffering from rising rents.

“Whilst the volume of renters is increasing there is a massive shortage of supply in rental property, resulting in upward pressure on rents.

“It is a shame that the change in mortgage interest tax relief, known as the Section 24 tax, hasn’t been scrapped – as the government has done in Ireland – resulting in landlords continuing to be forced out of the private rented sector due to tax increases that make their businesses nonviable.

“It is also unfortunate that the same Stamp Duty incorporation relief that is available to partnerships has not been extended to sole-trader landlords.

“As a business in the lettings sector we’ll do our best to mitigate the impact of current policy and the lack of improvements in the Budget by providing a better experience for tenants and landlords at lower cost.”

Lobbying for Lincolnshire to get its fair share

Lincolnshire County Council leader Martin Hill

Councillor Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council, said: “Perhaps the most welcome announcement is the extra £650m for adult care.

“The cost to the council in providing this service is enormous, and this additional money will hopefully help relieve some of the immense financial pressure we are under.

“However, we will continue to push the Government for a long-term funding plan, and await the publication of its green paper.

“The £420m for local authority roads is also good news, particularly in light of the damage done by the bad winter and long, hot summer.

“And we’ll be lobbying the Government to make sure that Lincolnshire gets its fair share.

“Of course, as with any Budget, the devil is in the detail, and we look forward to receiving the specifics over the coming days and weeks.

“We’ll be particularly interested to see whether the Government has taken any significant steps to introduce a fairer approach to local government funding.

“If councils in Lincolnshire received the average funding for council areas in England, the region would benefit from an extra £116million every year.

“That would make an enormous difference.”