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BUDGET: BUILDING ECONOMIC STRENGTH AND FLEXIBILITY IN WALES

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Budget 2003 takes account of the issues and priorities affecting Wales. This is reflected in the focus of the Budge...
Budget 2003 takes account of the issues and priorities affecting Wales. This is reflected in the focus of the Budget on flexibility and fairness - flexibility to allow countries, regions and localities to respond to change; and fairness to all individuals, businesses, countries and regions, so they have the chance to fulfil their potential.

Measures announced today which are particularly relevant to the Wales include:

  • a series of measures to simplify VAT for businesses, a wide-ranging package of deregulatory reforms and proposals to improve access to finance for small businesses, measures to improve the operation of existing R&D tax credits, and a consultation on improving the definition of R&D;

  • confirmation of the new Pension Credit from October 2003 to ensure that pensioners who save for their retirement benefit from having done so, together with the new Working Tax Credit and new Child Tax Credit from April 2003

  • improving the environment through further actions to improve waste management, an increase in the landfill tax escalator and support to help business reduce waste volumes

  • introduction of a Child Trust Fund, strengthening the saving habit of future generations and spreading the benefits of asset ownership to all

  • A freeze on fuel duties until October 2003

  • A freeze on duties on spirits

  • Abolition of bingo duty.

    The new Working Tax Credit, which will replace the Working Families Tax Credit from April 2003 will provide additional targeted support for low-income households in Wales. The new Child Tax Credit will benefit 320,000 families in Wales.

    Increased Child Benefit will benefit 350,000 families in Wales and provide at least an extra £5 per week for every family above the 1997 levels.

    The new Pension Credit (to be introduced in October 2003) will benefit the 250,000 pensioners in Wales.

    Measures to assist small businesses, such as extension of 100% First Year ICT capital allowances, simplification of the VAT regime, improvements to the R&D tax credit and extension of the Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme, will benefit many of the businesses in Wales.

    Enterprise will be boosted by a range of measures in Enterprise Areas (of which 350 are in Wales), and confirmation of the extension of stamp duty relief to all non-residential transactions.

    The full list of measures affecting Wales is available here.

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