CBI calls for help for small firms

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The Independent Online
THE Confederation of British Industry has called on Norman Lamont, the Chancellor, to use next month's Budget to help smaller businesses by introducing greater capital allowances and higher corporation tax thresholds, writes Paul Durman.

The measures are part of a 10-point plan that the CBI claims could be implemented in spite of the constraints imposed by the high level of public borrowing.

Howard Davies, the CBI's director-general, said: 'The Budget must be a Budget for business. To promote employment, it must also be a Budget for small businesses. That is where new jobs will first emerge.'

The CBI's demands include:

allowing smaller companies to write off up to pounds 200,000 of plant and machinery investment in the first year;

lifting the small companies' corporation tax threshold from pounds 250,000 to pounds 400,000, and the top threshold from pounds 1.25m to pounds 2m;

allowing personal equity plans to invest in unquoted shares;

relaxing the VAT regime.

Richard Brucciani, chairman of the CBI's smaller firms council, said there was a need to improve the availability of equity finance to small business because of the impending abolition of the Business Expansion Scheme.

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