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With the 2015 budget just days away independent accountancy firm Thomas Westcott has issued a wish-list it believes will help businesses.

But, with a General Election looming, the experts at Thomas Westcott fear the budget announcement will be a “benign affair” focused on what has been achieved, rather than measures to further stimulate business growth.

“With the economy continuing to show encouraging signs and business across the South West generally feeling more optimistic we would like to see the budget used to keep momentum with local businesses,” said Mark Tibbert, partner at Thomas Westcott. 

“However, with an election just weeks away, the 2015 budget is likely to be a benign affair with George Osborne simply using it to demonstrate what the coalition has achieved.”

Thomas Westcott has issued its wish-list of measures it would like to see announced – or at the very least considered – in order to help the economy and businesses in the South West flourish. 

First on the list is for an extension of the Annual Investment Allowance of £500,000 beyond 31 December 2015, or at the least an increase in the amount it will back to above £25,000, to help reduce the cost for businesses investing in equipment.

And, in the wake of recent uncertainty over the future of the Patent Box scheme, Thomas Westcott says the chancellor should provide more help to the manufacturing sector, not least to stimulate investment from overseas. 

Mark Tibbert said: “Whilst the proposed R&D clearance procedure is for SMEs to get clarity before claims are submitted, it would be good to see more help for manufacturing and technology businesses to encourage investment in the UK.

“This could be around looking to increase the amount of R&D relief for SMEs or an increase in the scope of qualifying costs, in particular given the climb down in recent months on the Patent Box relief.”

To help the construction industry continue to thrive, and to meet the building targets being set, the firm also believes the government should look seriously at simplifying the Construction Industry Scheme to reduce administration burdens on businesses and aide cash flow.

Next on Thomas Westcott’s wish-list is for more measures aimed at job creation, particularly in areas with the greatest need.

Mark explained: “Whilst there have been welcome steps in the last 12 months with the employment allowance of £2,000 and National Insurance exemption for under 21s, George Osborne should look at taking this further with a complete employers’ National Insurance exemption on new jobs created in deprived areas to help encourage employment and job creation in the areas that need it.”

Finally, on the controversial subject of tax avoidance, Thomas Westcott has called for greater engagement between the government’s policy makers and the financial services sector.

“If, as expected, more anti-avoidance legislation is introduced then this should only be after consultation with the profession and industry,” said Mark.

“This will ensure that any changes are more focused and better thought through to target the specific abuse rather than general rules that have been brought in over the last couple of years that have caused unnecessary costs and administrative burden for businesses,” he added.