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Budget2000 Tuesday, 21 March, 2000, 19:19 GMT
UK.com plans welcomed
ace.quote.com
Established web businesses are pleased by the Budget proposals
From his opening Budget comments, the chancellor made clear the importance the government attached to e-commerce.

Gordon Brown's package of measures is aimed at encouraging businesses to make the most of the internet and also persuading investors to back fledgling companies.

That emphasis was welcomed by Helga St Blaize, co-founder of Ace-quote.com, an online IT marketplace.

"It all looks great on paper," she told BBC News Online.

Definite incentives

"It looks like a dual incentive. On the one hand, they are encouraging investment and also helping companies to recruit people by using stock options.
Helga St Blaize
Helga St Blaize: Pleased to see action not words
"On the other hand, there are definite incentives to get small and medium-sized businesses online."

Ace.quote.com was launched in June last year as an online tool for buying and selling IT and telecoms products and services.

Helga St Blaize believes the tax write-off for purchases of computers and other technology can be a boon for start-up businesses.

"It would definitely have helped us if this provision had been in place," she said.

"The government are a lot more committed than they were - a year ago that feeling was not there. There was a lot of talk and not a lot done."
Stelios Haji-Ioannou of easyJet
Stelios Haji-Ioannou: Step in the right direction
Another internet entrepreneur - Stelios Haji-Ioannou, founder of easyJet and now a chain of internet cafes - also welcomed the government's stance.

"It was a step in the right dirction," he told the BBC.

He was pleased employee share options had been made more available as a recruitment tool.

"It's the best way to motivate people. In order to get talented and motivated staff you need to give them a piece of the action," he said.

But he was disappointed that no moves had been made on unapproved share option schemes, which currently carry heavy payments of National Insurance for employers.

Too cautious?

Mr Brown said that issue would be reviewed.

Patrick Stevens, tax partner at Ernst & Young, applauded the government's aim, but felt it had not been bold enough, especially with its capital gains tax changes.

"Many e-commerce businesses are going to be built up very quickly," he said.

"They will need to be passed on to develop further, but the capital gains tax law is encouraging them to hang on and hold back the development of their business so they don't pay higher rate tax."

See also:

21 Mar 00 | Budget2000
30 Jan 00 | Business
28 Oct 99 | Business
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