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Small biz grits teeth over Bloody George's budget

Vintage Thatcher, and not in a good way, says union

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Reaction to George Osborne's emergency Budget is mixed this morning, with most business leaders accepting the need for higher VAT and welcoming the cuts in corporation tax, while unions condemn him for a "vintage Thatcher" budget.

The Confederation of British Industry accepted the need for VAT rises, welcomed changes to Capital Gains Tax to increase the entrepreneurs allowance and the £1,000 increase in personal allowances.

Increases in national insurance thresholds for employers and the cut in small business corporation tax were also welcomed. Unsurprisingly the bosses's group also welcomed the two-year freeze on public sector pay and the review of pensions.

The Federation of Small Businesses was mostly in agreement with the CBI. It too accepted the need for the VAT increase despite its likely impact on the High Street. The FSB also welcomed the common sense introduction of it on 4 January rather than New Year's Day.

But the FSB did ask what had happened to the Tories' promised "fuel stabliser" proposals to reduce the impact of big petrol price rises.

Phil Orford of the Forum of Private Business said many SMEs were pleasantly surprised by Osborne's emergency budget. He accepted the VAT rise would hit some firms, but said most accepted the money had to come from somewhere and would prefer the VAT hike to even deeper spending cuts or tax rises elsewhere.

However, super union Unite was less convinced - given 25 per cent cuts for most departments which will translate into big job losses for its members this is no surprise either.

General secretary Derek Simpson said it was a vintage Thatcher budget, and talk of financial armageddon was to scare people into accepting the massive attack on public services.

Simpson asked what had happened to promised fairness and warned: "Increasing VAT is reckless - it will stop people spending, harm UK business and choke off the recovery.

"This budget is vintage Thatcher. The Lib Dems have been conned into hammering the poor, choking off investment and cuts that risk plunging this country into a longer and deeper recession." ®

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