What Scottish businesses make of the Budget


Chancellor George Osborne has unveiled his first UK Budget, aimed at tackling the country's huge deficit.

So how has his package of measures gone down with small businesses north of the border?

The BBC Scotland news website contacted a variety of companies working in different industries across Scotland to find out what they made of the Budget.

Below is a snapshot of their reactions.


Image caption, VAT on food is a 'total nightmare', says Foodie Company owner Peter Mclean

Edinburgh catering company owner Peter McLean said the Budget had not shown support for small businesses to grow.

His business - The Foodie Company - has an annual turnover of £400,000 and is made up of a café, a food hamper distribution outlet and a packing facility.

Mr McLean believed the government needed to support entrepreneurs if the country was to get out of the "big debt it is in".

The 26-year-old said: "I have not seen a huge amount of evidence from this Budget that helps small businesses. The Budget has left out elements I think businesses need to grow such as relief benefits and funding and support for growth.

"VAT on food is a total nightmare. For example a biscuit is not VAT-able but it is if it has chocolate on it.

"So I will now have to go through all our food and pass on the rise of 2.5% to the customer. We are a small business so we can't keep absorbing the costs like big businesses can," he added.


Image caption, Budget is 'the best compromise', says Highland boss Geoff Crowley

Geoff Crowley, managing director of Cumbernauld-based metal coating company Highland, believed the Budget seemed to "represent the best compromise of a painful batch of solutions".

According to Mr Crowley, reducing corporation tax would help stimulate investment by companies.

"Small companies can either choose to reinvest their profits or distribute them to shareholders, who have to pay tax on their dividend," he said.

"For business-to-business operations like us, the increase in VAT will not have an immediate impact, but it will have a secondary impact as, ultimately, this rise will be passed on to the end customer.

"That might cause some to defer spending, and if that spending would have been on manufactured goods, it will affect manufacturers," he added.


Image caption, Ann MacCallum says the Budget is 'not as ruthless as expected'

Ann MacCallum became the first woman to run a Harris Tweed mill when she was appointed general manager of Harris Tweed Textiles' Carloway Mill on Lewis in March.

The 48-year-old former Woolworths store manager said at first glance the Budget did not appear as ruthless for businesses as expected.

But she added she was wary of what might be contained in the fine detail.

She said a proposed rebate on fuel prices in rural areas would help to bring down the mill's costs for deliveries.

Mrs MacCallum said a rise in VAT would not make much difference for Harris Tweed Textiles as the majority of its products were exported.

However, she added: "The VAT rise might see a slow down in our domestic market meaning we would have to very much push our exports."


Image caption, VAT rise might be good for BrewDog, says James Watt

James Watt, founder of Aberdeenshire-based beer firm BrewDog, expressed surprise at the Budget alcohol duty freeze, and welcomed the VAT rise.

He told BBC Scotland: "I was expecting alcohol duty to go up, I do not think it would have been unfair.

"We were not too hung up on the outcome, we are quite small, you just make your own destiny."

On VAT, he explained: "The VAT rise might help us ironically.

"Because people will pay more for everything you expect something of a better quality so people may be reluctant to pay for something generic, they might go for something a little bit better quality for the money."

BrewDog has captured headlines for strong and expensive beers such as Tactical Nuclear Penguin.


Image caption, Dr Totten says the Budget 'is a reasonable one' for business

For Dr Wilson Totten, chief executive of Borders-based international pharmaceutical company, ProStrakan, the budget was "a reasonable one for business in the circumstances".

He said the cuts in corporation tax would be relevant and welcomed by shareholders.

"The chancellor appears to have listened to business and takes the view that it's the private sector that will drive us out of the downturn," he said.

"I'm also pleased to see that capital spending will be maintained, as this helps create jobs and will assist in the recovery."


Image caption, The chancellor has reversed planned tax breaks for the gaming industry

Gaming companies in Dundee were denied a tax break in the budget - an industry boost promised by the Labour government before the general election.

Colin MacDonald, from Realtime Worlds in Dundee, said the announcement had left gaming companies feeling "hugely, hugely frustrated and disappointed".

"It was something that weeks ago, before the election, all the parties were behind," he said.

"They knew how many jobs it was and that they were high value jobs."

Mr MacDonald said it was likely that many jobs that could have been created in the UK would now end up going to countries like South Korea.

"We understand it is a difficult situation, but it was a difficult situation six weeks ago. At the end of the day, the country suffers," he added.

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