‘Small businesses need urgent help with spiralling energy bills’

Suzanne and Colin Jones with their children Melissa, 14, and Ben, 10, from Ilkley
Suzanne and Colin Jones with their children Melissa, 14, and Ben, 10, from Ilkley
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COMPANY director Suzanne Johns welcomed the creation of 20,000 apprenticeships and the transferable tax allowance for married couples – but called for urgent help for small businesses.

Running a business with “spiralling energy costs” was difficult as business taxes were still too high, she said.

The MD of Approach PR Ltd, based in Ilkley, said the Chancellor had not sprung any surprises or made any significant changes.

“While I am pleased that business rates will be frozen in 2014, without the small business relief we currently receive, it would be an unnecessary overhead that is counterproductive for business and future growth.

“The creation of 20,000 apprenticeships is a positive move for all concerned. We are big believers in supporting the next generation of employees and are currently working with two funded graduate interns as part of Bradford Council’s Employment and Enterprise Scheme which is a great boost to our resources and supports the graduates in furthering their careers. More of the same can only be good for business.”

Ms Johns, 43, who lives with fiancée Colin Watson and their children Melissa, 14, and Ben, 10, welcomed the £1,000 transferable tax allowance.

“The cutting of controversial green levies is a token gesture with an annual saving of around £50 a year but our biggest disappointment is still having no option to transfer Ben’s Child Trust Fund savings to a Junior ISA. Born in 2003, Ben received £250 at birth and a further £250 at the age of seven but the money is in a poorly performing CTF – unlike children born after 2011 whose contributions are in a Junior ISA. Unfortunately, signs are that the child trust fund is in terminal decline but for the foreseeable future, there appears nothing we can do about it.

“I’ve long given up on relying on a Government pension for my future security so increasing the retirement age to 68 isn’t something I’ll dwell on. I’ve long since learned that you can’t rely on other people for your financial security and happiness and that’s one of the reasons I set up my own business when my daughter was so young. Knowing how quickly the world around us is changing, we are saving and planning now for a future where we decide when we retire.”

• Autumn Statement coverage in association with Hitachi Personal Finance