Eurosceptic Tories fought to replace the definition, removing every reference to euros and substituting the equivalent sum in pounds sterling at conversion rates on Budget Day.
Shadow chief secretary and accountant MP David Heathcoat-Amory said nobody would have expected the euro to have fluctuated as much as it had, impacting wildly on affected firms, few of which had any real exposure to the euro.
He claimed it would damage the certainty companies need for forward planning – and that a ‘bizarre’ consequence would have been that the 15% devaluation of the euro over the past year would have excluded a large number of companies that had believed a year ago that they would be included.
But economic secretary Melanie Johnson said the Tories should welcome the decision to use the European Union definition of SMEs because it was considerably greater than the Companies Act definition, allowing more to qualify for R&D reliefs.
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