Brown extends help to deprived areas

Link: Treasury urged to end stamp duty on shares

Chancellor Gordon Brown announced the proposed tax exemption in a keynote speech at an ‘Urban Summit’ in Birmingham spelling out his proposals for reviving the economy of depressed areas.

Brown ruled out 1980s-style enterprise zones, which used a bricks-and-mortar approach, which he claimed merely attracted businesses to move from one area to another with no net development gain and rejected the approach of boosting benefits to compensate those out of work, without doing anything to get then back into employment.

He stressed: ‘The emphasis of our approach will be measures to encourage and foster the indigenous skills, talents and potential of local people and communities.’

This would involve policies designed ‘to help firms start up, invest, hire and expand’.

Brown said business stamp duty exemption in these areas had already been halved – and he planned to abolish it entirely.

He said other measures would include an increase of £50m in the phoenix fund, supporting small businesses, particularly those run by women and entrepreneurs from ethnic minorities.

The small business service will provide help, advice and support worth up to £2,000 per business.

The business incubation fund would be used to stimulate the availability of managed work space for start up firms.

And there will be ‘financial incentives to help them bring their tax and payroll systems online’.

Brown added that by 2006 ‘every school pupil will have the opportunity of five days of enterprise education’.

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