Hertfordshire business chief expects ‘harsh’ Budget

THE chief executive of the Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce has said he will “vigorously defend business interests” in the county ahead of the Budget announcement today (Tuesday).

Tim Hutchings said he hoped the coalition Government would “resist the temptation” to place further burdens on businesses up and down the country.

“It would be wonderful to think that the Chancellor might announce that the Treasury had got its figures completely wrong and consequently he is going to award us all significant tax cuts,” Mr Hutchings said.

“Sadly, however, it is clear that it will be nothing other than a pretty harsh budget in which further public sector cuts and increases in taxation are announced.

“We understand the challenges that this government faces in returning the economy to health and are keen to support it in anyway we can to achieve it. We will, nonetheless, vigorously represent business interests to ensure that they are not undermined in their efforts to play their part. I very much hope that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has taken this into account.”

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Some of the most drastic spending cuts and tax increases for years are expected later today, when Chancellor George Osborne unveils his Budget at 12.30pm.

Among the announcements, Mr Osborne is expected to raise the tax-paying threshold by �1,000 to �7,475, meaning around 880,000 people will be taken out of the tax system.

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VAT is expected to rise, from 17.5 per cent to around 20 per cent, as is National Insurance contributions for higher earners.

Severe spending cuts are expected as Mr Osborne attempts to tackle Britain’s �155bn deficit.

Labour politicians argue that the drastic cuts will delay the economic recovery, and actually push the country back into recession.

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