THE BLOG

Supporting the Makers

20/03/2014 09:25 GMT | Updated 19/05/2014 10:59 BST

Wednesday's budget was delivered against a backdrop of positive economic news. In the morning the ONS announced that unemployment was down again, that youth employment was up by 43,000 and that there were a record 30.19 million people in work overall. Not only is the economy creating jobs but the vast majority of them are full time with 94% of the jobs created in the last year being full time positions.

Then during the Chancellor's statement we got the OBR's forecasts for the economy. A year ago the OBR predicted economic growth this year would be 1.8%, today it's upgraded that to 2.7%, the biggest upwards revision between budgets for 30 years.

The economy is healing, but we need to cement the recovery by encouraging and supporting our great British businesses. That's why the Chancellor is supporting businesses that are making things and selling them to the world.

Last year the Chancellor increased the annual capital investment allowance for businesses to £250,000, something that businesses in my constituency welcomed. Today I'm delighted that he's gone even further doubling the amount and encouraging businesses to invest in their growth. Now 98.8% of businesses will get a 100% investment allowance.

For those manufacturers that do invest in new plant and equipment one of their biggest costs is energy, which is why I am sure that today's announcement of a £7billion package of savings will be so welcomed. Capping the Carbon Price Support Rate will save a mid-sized manufacturer almost £50,000 on their annual energy bill, and also helpfully saves families £15 a year on their bills. But this isn't just about savings, the fact that the support rate will be capped for the rest of the decade will provide real stability to businesses and their investment decisions.

We want these manufacturers to be selling to the world, and for many that means obtaining export finance guarantees . So to help our nation's exporters we'll be doubling the support available to £3billion and from today, cutting the interest rates connected with export guarantees by a third.

The heart of innovation in our economy is small businesses, and for those small start-ups that are currently loss making but investing in their future the Chancellor also had good news today with the raising of R&D tax credits to 14.5%. For such early stage businesses the announcement that the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme will become permanent will also be of a great help.

This was truly a budget for the doers and the makers, one that will secure Britain's economic future as a great trading nation and the natural home of enterprise.