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Wednesday, 27 November, 2002, 18:13 GMT
Brown plans to aid poorer areas
Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown will deliver his pre-budget speech
Chancellor Gordon Brown has unveiled plans to boost the economies of deprived areas in Wales.

Around 350 areas across Wales will become enterprise areas in an attempt to encourage new businesses and help them create jobs.

Gordon Brown
The chancellor plans to increase borrowing

In the enterprise areas, stamp duty on commercial property deals will be abolished, planning laws will be relaxed. There will be community tax credits for investment, as well as targeted advice and support for new businesses.

The Wales Office says Welsh bingo winners will get an extra 7m in winnings after the cut in bingo tax.

Mr Brown's plans to make it cheaper for people to set up their own companies have been well known, as were his plans to create 2,000 enterprise areas across the UK.

A generous proportion of these areas were earmarked for Wales, where the chancellor wants the economy to diversify from the traditional manufacturing sector.

'Employers hit'

But existing businesses in Wales have appealed for him to keep tax and National Insurance levels down.

Mike Fowler, Group Finance Director of Department Store Leekes, said: "One of the things that hit employers in the last budget was the increase in National Insurance contributions.

"They are talking about increasing that again.

"An increase in the standard rate of VAT would also have a detrimental effect on shoppers."

Directors of engineering firm Spencer Davies, of Burry Port, west Wales, have been forced to take a pay freeze in the last financial year after profit margins tightened.

Managers at the firm, which supplies components to companies including Sony and Bosch, want to see indirect taxes reduced.

Operations Director Owain Davies said: "I'm optimistic after coming through a year that's been quite turbulent.

"It has been tough for manufacturers who have to compete with producers in the Far East.

"The economy goes through cycles and if we keep battling through this one, hopefully there will be security in the future.

"The biggest problem at the moment is cash flow and I would like to see the Bank of England to lowe interest rates even further.

"If it's much the same as this year, then I'll be worried, but I'm optimistic it's going to get better."

See also:

17 Apr 02 | Wales
12 Jul 02 | Wales
25 Nov 02 | Politics
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