Thursday, 20 March 2014 12:50

Budget 'will help rural business'

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Budget 'will help rural business'

MEASURES contained in the governemnt's budget will help businesses in the countryside, says rural insurer NFU Mutual.

A number of beneficial measures were contained in the government's budget on Wednesday (19 March), said Sean McCann, the insurer's personal finance specialist.

Doubling the Annual Investment Allowances to £500,000 until the end of 2015 would provide a massive boost to rural businesses, he said.

"It should encourage investment in new plant and machinery, boosting incomes and helping create jobs in the rural economy.

"To help businesses make long-term plans for development we urge the Chancellor to make this increase permanent in the next Budget."

According to the Prince's Countryside Fund, rural businesses contribute £22bn in domestic food and drink to the UK economy every year, while rural tourism generates another £14bn.

Rural businesses also employ 5.5m people and range in size from small enterprises through to large manufacturing businesses.

Mr McCann said measures to help businesses invest in new premises and machinery and create new jobs could only be good news for the UK economy as a whole, and the rural economy in particular.

Rural businesses would also be relieved that the government had scrapped a planned increases in fuel duty.

Meanwhile, the government has also unveiled £200m for local authorities to repair potholes.

The announcement comes less than a month after NFU Mutual revealed that the number of claims it received for pothole-related damage rose by 21% between 2012 and 2013.

"The rural road network is essential for rural businesses," said Nicki Whittaker, one of the insurer's rural affairs specialists.

"Any measure to help reduce the burden of fuel costs for local businesses and improve the condition of the rural road network is welcome, particularly after the recent period of prolonged bad weather."

At a time when many businesses are still struggling to get back on their feet after recent storms and floods, the budget included an extra £140m for flood prevention investments.

The only disappointment for businesses was the postponement of a revaluation of business rates, which would have benefitted many businesses outside London, said Ms Whittaker.

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