Budget aims to boost business

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GEORGE Osborne’s plans to set aside £300m to combat youth unemployment by creating 40,000 new apprenticeships has been welcomed by one borough business.

Nick Maxwell, director of Longbenton-based Survey and Marketing Services, said: “I welcome the announcement to tackle youth unemployment and invest in job creation through apprenticeships, especially at small businesses.

“Many young people in the north east have been hit particularly hard in recent years due to the economic downturn.

“At SMS, we have a long history of promoting from within.

“We are now currently seeking to take on another apprentice as apprenticeships do work and I think the Budget announcement is a positive step.”

And the Budget also included a boost for charities with reforms in Gift Aid from 2013, guaranteeing automatic claims on small donations under £10 and up to £5,000 a year – even if the giver has failed to opt into Gift Aid.

The North of England Children’s Cancer Run (NECCR) has welcomed the move, which could see around £240m worth of extra donations to charities.

Run administrator Tony Gilroy said: “The reforms will not only save us time on administration, but also money as we will be able to invest our efforts back into other fundraising activities.

“We receive many small donations from runners, and the administration costs often outweigh the actual benefits of the extra money.

“The new rules will mean we automatically receive the Gift Aid benefits without costing us precious time and money.

“The benefits are unquantifiable.”

And campaigners hoping to help people stop smoking have welcomed the above inflation rise on cigarettes – an extra 50p per packet of 20.

Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh, said: “We welcome any above-inflation price rise for one vital reason – because it will save more lives and stop more children starting to smoke.

“Price is still by far the most effective measure to stop people smoking.

“More and more we are seeing cheap, legal tobacco promoted at discount prices in our shops and around pubs and clubs by the tobacco industry.

“Moves to reduce the price gap of cheap hand rolled tobacco and budget brands will also be effective, especially at discouraging young people.”