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Darling should fuel economic prosperity

A guillotine
Published 11 Mar 2008
Tags budget, fuel, NECC, commercial property, tax
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The NECC asked Mr Darling to guillotine two tax proposals

North East businesses have called on Chancellor Alistair Darling to ‘guillotine' two tax proposals that would have a negative impact on the economy. The North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) has written to the Treasury outlining measures it believes should be adopted in this Wednesday's Budget to maintain economic stability and strong growth.

One of the prime points for reconsideration is the proposed 2p hike in fuel duty due to come into force in April. NECC has also urged a re-think on plans to increase tax on properties that remain vacant for a period of time.

James Ramsbotham, NECC chief executive, said: "With petrol prices at the pump soaring beyond the £1 per litre mark, an additional increase in duty is seen to be potentially one of the most damaging moves the Government could make in the current, fragile economic climate. NECC is also concerned that the Chancellor will implement plans to cut the relief on empty commercial property rates. This is based on the, often wrong, assumption that landlords are purposefully leaving some buildings vacant.

"Both of these taxes face causing considerable damage to the North East economy if implemented. Cutting the empty property rate relief will put a brake on speculative property development which in turn will shackle expansion in our region."

NECC's submission also points out to the Treasury that speculative commercial property development is essential. It states: "Making the region a more attractive location for companies is seen as a crucial part of this. If the increased risks associated with reform to empty property rate relief tip the balance against marginal developments, the impact on the North East economy will be damaging."

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