Chancellor Gordon Brown has given technology firms much of what they wanted in his fifth Budget speech.
In a move aimed at boosting "competition, innovation and entrepreneurship", Brown announced further reforms of taxes on employee share ownership. The low level of capital gains tax, set at 10 per cent and previously available to venture capitalists which own at least five per cent of a firm, will be opened to all employees.
The government's management share ownership scheme, previously open to just limited numbers of staff, will also be opened to all.
However, Brown did not announce changes to the level of National Insurance contributions on some share option schemes, which has drawn much flak from technology firms.
The Chancellor named IT as one of three industries for which the unemployed will be trained, in an effort to help meet skills shortages. The measures will be announced next week.
"In the new economy, people constantly need to improve their skills," he said. "We're prepared to consider how to best help employers to meet their responsibilities [to train their staff], including a new tax credit."
As expected, Brown issued proposals on how to extend his research and development tax credit to all companies. The credit was previously open only to small to medium-sized firms, broadly defined as those with up to 250 employees or £12m in assets.
The move had been called for by the Computer Services and Software Association and the Confederation of British Industry.
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