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Tuesday, 27 November, 2001, 18:48 GMT
CBI lauds 'sensible' Brown
Business leaders have broadly welcomed Chancellor Gordon Brown's pre-Budget report on the state of the UK economy.


The latest information from manufacturers suggests very tough times ahead and they will be disappointed by the chancellor's statement

Martin Temple, Engineering Employers' Federation
Digby Jones, director general of employers' group the CBI, praised the chancellor for delivering a "sensible and supportive" package at a time of economic uncertainty.

He said business would be particularly pleased with new tax credits designed to boost productivity.

"Even though he (Mr Brown) may turn out to be somewhat optimistic about economic prospects for next year, he has avoided a damaging increase in taxes simply to meet previously announced fiscal targets," Mr Jones said.

"Allowing the budget deficit to rise modestly will help support the economy through difficult times," he added.

Relief plea

Mr Jones urged Mr Brown to consider a "contingency package of special tax measures for worst-affected businesses in case the economy deteriorates significantly".

Britain's manufacturers were also disappointed by the absence of short-term relief for businesses affected by the global econonic downturn.


Vernons warmly welcomes the chancellor's announcement on the modernisation of the pools betting duty.

Matt Finnigan, Vernons

The Engineering Employers' Federation (EEF) said it welcomed new tax credits to encourage R&D and training but said the pre-Budget report was a "missed opportunity" to help manufacturers.

EEF director general Martin Temple said: "The latest information from manufacturers suggests very tough times ahead and they will be disappointed by the chancellor's statement."

'A real difference'

The British Chambers of Commerce, which represents smaller firms across all sectors of the economy, said a plan for a new training tax credit could make a "real difference" to its members.

The measure is designed to help companies which had to bear the cost of time off or overtime for staff on training courses.

A 40m pilot scheme will be launched in selected areas in September.

Deprived areas

Mr Brown also unveiled a raft of measures to boost employment in deprived areas, including a new venture capital fund for small businesses.

The plan to abolish stamp duty on all property transactions up to 150,000 will apply to about 15% of postal districts in England and Scotland and about 42% of Northern Ireland.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said they understand these areas to cover those listed in the government's "indices of multiple deprivation".

The Treasury has also confirmed that from next year the 150,000 could be raised or even abolished for non-residential transactions.

Football pools

One declining industry had particular cause to be grateful to the chancellor, as he announced the abolition of all tax on football pools.

A spokesman for market leader Littlewoods said: "It is very good news for us and will have a positive impact on the company going forward."

Matt Finnigan, spokesman for Ladbrokes Worldwide, which owns Vernons pools, said: "Vernons warmly welcomes the chancellor's announcement on the modernisation of the pools betting duty."

He said the company was proud of its contributions to good causes.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jeff Randall
"You would expect retailers to be happy"
The BBC's Dharshini David
gets reaction from businesses in Liverpool
The government's pre-Budget report will be on 27 Novewmber


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27 Nov 01 | Business
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