Small firms received a boost from chancellor Gordon Brown’s Budget, announced this week.
For companies whose profits are less than £300,000, the tax band will be reduced from 20% to 19%. Businesses making a profit of less than £10,000 will also have their corporation tax reduced from 10% to zero. Brown has also set aside £30m for training in small firms.

Construction Products Association chief executive Michael Ankers said he was disappointed that the budget did not decrease VAT on domestic repair and maintenance and on energy efficient products.

He said he welcomed the £400m for research and development at manufacturing firms.

Brown pledged an extra £4bn for public spending in 2002/3, with £20m for renovations of amateur sports clubs.