Business groups offer last minute Budget proposals

Business groups have urged the Chancellor to take 'radical action' and deliver measures which support small businesses, drive job creation, and encourage UK economic growth, in the Budget that will be announced tomorrow.

The suggestions from groups include key tax reforms, additional support for small and medium sized firms in accessing finance, initiatives for those being held back by increased fuel costs, and further investment into the UK's infrastructure.

Calling for a re-think of the taxation system, The Forum of Private Business (FPB) argued for an extension of the £5,000 National Insurance holiday - which is currently offered to the first ten employees recruited by start-ups - so that it includes the first two employees taken on by all firms.

The FPB's chief executive, Phil Orford, said: "The Budget is a real opportunity to remove the growth barriers for small firms created by the complexity of the tax system. It is clearly one that should not be missed. In particular, our members want a level playing field on tax, and the UK's tax system to be conducive to business growth and success rather than a hurdle that is a struggle to overcome.'

According the FPB, many small businesses would also benefit from support regarding the recent hike in utility bills and fuel costs. In response to the Government's launch of the National Loan Guarantee Scheme (NLGS) it also said that the Budget should focus on boosting bank competition and provide greater information about alternative schemes.

Speaking at the British Chamber of Commerce's annual conference, director general John Longworth also emphasised the importance of a business minded Budget that would stimulate private investment, create access to capital and improve Britain's 'lacklustre' infrastructure.

"Never before has it been more important that government is prepared to be bold and take radical action. George Osborne has an opportunity in the Budget, less than one week away, to improve the business environment," he said.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) similarly placed growth and infrastructure at the top of the Budget's agenda.

The CBIs director general, John Cridland, said: "Getting growth going must be the Chancellor's number one priority in this year's Budget. As we've said, one of the best ways we can create activity and new jobs is by attracting investment into our ageing infrastructure."

We will be covering the Budget live as it happens tomorrow.