Osborne unveils tax cut for businesses

By Ian Dunt

New businesses will not have to pay national insurance on their first ten employees, George Osborne has announced.

The plan will apply for the first two years of a Conservative government.

The shadow chancellor made the commitment during a Q&A session at the Tory party conference in Manchester.

“Our message will be clear, we will say set up your business here. We will send a message that this country is open for business again,” Mr Osborne said.

The party insists the proposal is fully funded but critics immediately expressed surprise that a party which made the deficit the centre of its policy agenda is unveiling tax cuts in the run-up to the general election.

Vince Cable, Lib dem treasury spokesman, said the plan risked harming existing small businesses.

“The numbers Mr Osborne thinks this policy would help seem to have been plucked out of thin air,” he said.

“This tax break for new businesses would mean that they will be able to undercut existing small companies who are already struggling.”

The plan forms another solid policy on a day in which the party has responded vociferously to claims it had ‘no substance’.

Earlier in the day, party officials unveiled a package of welfare reforms, which included taking people off incapacity benefit and onto jobseekers allowance if they failed to satisfy a thorough series of tests.