Mixed news in Budget, says Hartlepool business leader

Graeme Surtees, director at business advisers and chartered accountants Waltons Clark Whitehill

Graeme Surtees, director at business advisers and chartered accountants Waltons Clark Whitehill

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A real mix of news - that was the Chancellor’s Budget in the eyes of a prominent Hartlepool businessman.

Graeme Surtees, a director at Hartlepoool Marina-based chartered accountants and business advisers Waltons Clark Whitehill, said it would have a positive effect on smaller traders who could now potentially open for longer on Sundays.

Perhaps the smaller trader will see this as an opportunity for greater flexibility although it could mean more hours for the employees.

Graeme Surtees

But a crackdown on vehicle emissions levels through changes in excise duty could have a negative effect on companies with transport fleets, he added.

The Chancellor George Osborne said £37 billion of fiscal consolidation was needed during this parliament, including £12 billion of welfare cuts.

He confirmed that he was looking to raise another £5 billion from cracking down on tax avoidance.

Mr Osborne a announced reforms to vehicle excise duty, reducing the number of bands to three - zero, standard and premium. He said “every single penny” of revenue will be ringfenced for road projects.

“From 2017, for brand new cars only, we will introduce new VED bands,” he said. “ The duty in the first year will be set according to emissions, like today, but updated for new technology.

Mr Surtees said: “Some of our clients with a fleet of vehicles may have vehicles which are typically not the best emissions rated and it could hit them in the pocket.”

Mr Osborne also confirmed plans for counties and elected mayors to gain power to set Sunday trading hours in their areas.

Mr Surtees said: “You have supermarkets that can open on a Sunday, but we have clients that don’t open on a Sunday.

“This will give them more option.

“Perhaps the smaller trader will see this as an opportunity for greater flexibility although it could mean more hours for the employees.”