Budget 2020 reaction: Sean Farnell, Partner

Entrepreneurs considering selling their businesses won’t be put off by changes to relief announced in the Budget, according to a leading accountancy firm.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak showcased £30 billion worth of spending to support the country during the coronavirus threat – and also announced plans to scale back Entrepreneurs’ Relief.

Sean Farnell, a partner at Burgis & Bullock, which has offices in Leamington Spa, Nuneaton, Rugby and Stratford upon Avon, was surprised with the change to the relief but believes it won’t act as a deterrent.

He said: “The drop from £10 million all the way down to £1 million is a bit disappointing. We thought the Chancellor may have halved it but to take it all the way down to £1 million is a surprise.

“Entrepreneurs’ Relief is a key incentive for start-up businesses, and there were worries it would be completely wiped, so in some ways it will be a relief to business it has only been capped.

“From our experience, we have plenty of clients who already took advantage over the new £1 million limit.

“But despite the drop, I’m not sure it will be a deterrent to business owners looking to sell, particularly with the base rate at 20 per cent anyway.”

Other key measure introduced by the Chancellor focused around temporary removal of business rates for businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure and measures to help mitigate the impact of coronavirus on the business community.

There were also pledges that could affect business locally in Warwickshire regarding improvements to the A46.

Sean added: “Starting with the coronavirus was the right thing to do, it’s not very often you hear a Chancellor say what the NHS is going to get what it needs regardless of costs.

“From a business perspective there was an acceptance that there is likely to be a short-term knock on effect on the economy, but some of the relief outlined will be very welcome for businesses.

“The measures are immediate and short term and I’m not sure that they could have done much more.

“Government funding statutory sick pay for 14 days to SMEs will make a huge difference to business owners.

“Looking at the additional relief on rates for all hospitality buildings is very generous and long overdue, with the leisure industry set to be hit particularly badly by the coronavirus.

“For us here in Warwickshire the pledge to improve the A46 – which I know is something the Midlands Engine has been looking at – will help with local infrastructure and connectivity to the north east and south west of our region too.”

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