Osborne pledges loans, but no tax breaks

Chancellor promises “billions” for small firms in conference speech


Chancellor George Osborne has promised to embark on a programme which will pump “billions definitely, tens of billions possibly” into Britain’s small businesses.

Osborne, speaking at the Conservative party conference in Manchester, pledged to launch a policy of ‘credit easing’, in which loans will be channelled directly from government to small businesses. It is hoped that the programme will encourage the development of a small business bond market, and help companies which are currently struggling to secure bank loans. Osborne also unveiled plans to increase the qualifying period for unfair dismissal cases from two years to one – easing the regulatory burden on small business owners. However, he ruled out the introduction of business tax cuts – which would provide crucial relief for many beleaguered entrepreneurs. The chancellor told conference delegates that, with collective action, “the British people will overcome (the recession) as we have overcome so many before. Together, we will ride out the storm. “We should never take our eyes off the prize: a British economy freed from its debts; growing strongly; spreading prosperity to all our people.” Phil Orford, chairman of the Forum of Private Business, welcomed the prospect of “specific commitments to tribunal changes to give employers more security over job creation,” adding that “the announcement of credit easing is a positive signal.” However, he stressed the need for the government to introduce fresh guarantees of infrastructure investment, as this “would deliver real growth in the economy.”

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