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Law Society calls on UK Government budget to boost economy and support Scottish solicitor

24 February 2014 | tagged News release

The UK Government must use the next budget statement to boost the economy and provide more support to struggling solicitor firms, the Law Society of Scotland said today.

Writing to the Secretary of State for Scotland ahead of the Chancellor's budget statement on 19 March, Law Society President Bruce Beveridge said the sluggish recovery and uncertain economic outlook meant firms had to work harder than ever to sustain their businesses.

He pointed to cost of time surveys showing high street firms as the part of the profession hurting most. He also highlighted the recent polling by Ipsos MORI showed that less than half of Scottish solicitors (46%) expect the economy to improve this year.

The Law Society President said the UK Government had to provide additional support to accelerate the rate of economic growth, provide an internationally competitive tax regime to attract investment and highlighted other areas where the Chancellor could act.

Mr Beveridge said: "We hope that further action could be taken by the government to encourage banks to improve the lending environment, particularly for small and medium sized companies. Whilst maintaining the core protections, the government should continue to focus on removing unnecessary regulation on business, which can impact on small business start-ups and the willingness of smaller employers to maintain or take on additional staff. Indeed, we would hope the Chancellor would also look at what further incentives could be provided for hiring new staff as well as the training and development of existing employees."

The Society also took the opportunity to repeat its earlier concerns over proposed changes to the partnership rules as contained with the 2014 Finance Bill, issues already raised with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) by the Society's Tax Law Committee.

Mr Beveridge added: "There is wide dissatisfaction within the profession regarding the complexity of these proposed rules. We are keen to ensure Scottish solicitors are not indirectly discriminated against by these measures, which in practice will affect members of the accounting and other professions and involve significant compliance costs for LLPs, potentially putting the LLP model at a commercial disadvantage. 

"We would urge the UK Government to postpone implementation of the changes until 6 April 2015 to allow HMRC to produce a more coherent set of rules and guidance and to give taxpayers time to process how they will be affected by the changes."

ENDS    

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Please contact Val McEwan on 0131 226 8884 or Julia Brown on 0131 476 8204 or at valeriemcewan@lawscot.org.uk /juliabrown@lawscot.org.uk

24 February 2014

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