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Support for Businesses and Entrepreneurs

Volume 651: debated on Tuesday 11 December 2018

This Government are determined to make the UK the best place in the world to start a business. We are keeping taxes low and helping businesses and entrepreneurs to access the support that they need. We have cut corporation tax to the lowest rate in the G20 and made changes to business rates that will be worth over £13 billion by 2023.

I thank the Minister for that response. Walker’s Nonsuch, a family business in my constituency since 1894 and England’s finest toffee producer, enthusiastically welcomed the increased annual investment allowance. Does he agree that it is essential to continue to reduce tax on companies so that they invest in new equipment, increase productivity and create more jobs?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. While the Labour party wants to increase taxes on business, including on small businesses, we are cutting them, and the increased annual investment allowance will enable businesses such as the one in his constituency to invest in plant, machinery and new technology to drive it to future success.

The broken business rates system is having a seriously detrimental impact on our high streets, and that is seen right across York. Will the Minister meet me and York Retail Forum to discuss the impact it is having on York and, in particular, the proposals it wants to see on turnover tax?

I would be happy to meet the hon. Lady. We announced in the Budget that 90% of smaller retailers, including many in her constituency, would see a 30% reduction in their business rates, and the future high streets fund is designed exactly for communities such as the one she represents.

Does my hon. Friend agree that keeping the VAT threshold at £85,000 demonstrates that the Government are firmly on the side of West Oxfordshire’s small businesses?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. The VAT threshold in this country is high by international standards. We have retained it at that level to support small businesses, which this Government will always champion.

Small businesses and subcontractors are still carrying the can for the collapse of Carillion. In the light of Interserve’s latest trouble, can the Minister update us on his Department’s liaison with it as a client, and say what level of risk the taxpayer and small businesses have been put to by Interserve’s latest attempts to stay afloat by refinancing its debt for equity?

The hon. Gentleman raises an important question. My right hon. Friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office is working closely on this matter, as he did with respect to Carillion. We want a wider base of companies supplying the Government and the public sector, to ensure that we have a resilient public sector in the eventuality that such situations happen again.