Susie Swift, Partner, Saffery Champness in Inverness comments:
Any predictions for reducing the top level of income tax, help for savers or other headline measures were short lived in an Autumn Statement delivered by Chancellor George Osborne today aimed at keeping interest rates as low as possible whilst continuing to rebalance the UK economy.
One, and perhaps the only measure of interest to rural businesses in Scotland is the cancellation of the planned fuel duty increase from January 2012, and a reduction in the next rise in August 2012 to be limited to 2p.
A one off £50 million payment has also been offered towards the Scotland to London sleeper service, with the Scottish Government to meet the balance of costs.
The campaign to introduce super-fast broadband continues, but todays announcement of £100 million investment will boost broadband speed and coverage in the major UK cities to include Edinburgh in the first phase rather than in rural areas.
The Chancellor also announced an extension of the EIS scheme to support start-up businesses that would give investors 50 per cent tax relief for investing in business start-ups coupled with a 12 month Capital Gains Tax (CGT) holiday.
A number of the measures announced today in relation to new homes, construction and planning reform relate only to England and not to the devolved administrations.
In a separate announcement, Government has confirmed that those gifting pre-eminent works of art or historical objects to the Nation may receive a reduction in their income tax or CGT liabilities of up to £30 million per year overall.