Consumer confidence plunged at its fastest rate in January on the back of the rise in VAT.

The Chancellor, George Osborne has flagged up a new online portal, designed to elicit ideas from the public and from businesses for the forthcoming Budget.

Small firms appear to have taken the recent hike in VAT in their stride.

The Treasury is to examine the running of a VAT tax relief which may be harming the competitiveness of smaller internet firms.

There was an increase last year in the number of requests to defer business tax payments under the Time to Pay scheme that were refused by HM Revenue and Customs.

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