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Osborne tax plan to help business
The Chancellor has announced a series of measures designed to support business, including moves to make the UK's tax system the most competitive in the G20 nations.
George Osborne said the main rate of corporation tax will be cut by 1% in April 2014 to 21%, on top of previously announced reductions.
The Small Business Rate relief scheme will be extended by a further year to April 2014, while other measures include consulting on reducing "unnecessary burdens" from regulations covering the transfer of workers to other employers.
The Government also announced that £120 million will be made available to help manufacturers invest in areas including equipment, research and skills.
The money will fund a scheme in England aimed at firms in the sector's supply chain, including aerospace, automotive, chemicals, construction, life sciences and energy.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "This further £120 million investment in advanced manufacturing supply chains reinforces the Government's ongoing efforts to create the right conditions for UK suppliers to grow and remain competitive on the world stage."
A business bank will become fully operational in the autumn of 2014, although no new money was announced today for the £1 billion venture.
Richard Baron of the Institute of Directors said: "The surprise reduction in corporation tax is a very welcome boost to the UK's competitiveness at a critical time.
"The private sector is working hard to deliver jobs and growth and the Chancellor has waded in to support that. Reducing the tax burden for all businesses is the most straightforward way to help them expand and take on more staff."
John Walker, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "We eagerly await more information on the business bank over the coming weeks. While the bank will help to house all Government finance initiatives, meaning they are better signposted for small firms, it should also improve competition in the sector.
"For small businesses to grow and help economic recovery, they need better access to finance as it is clear that start-ups and the smallest firms still struggle to access finance they need."