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Responding to concerns that smaller firms are struggling with problems of credit risk, the government is setting up a trade credit insurance scheme.

The Chancellor has extended a scheme aimed at helping loss-making firms ease their cashflow worries by enabling them to reclaim taxes paid on profits during the last three years.

Future tax rises were always likely to be on the agenda as the Chancellor seeks to reassure the international money markets that he has plans laid to reduce the UK’s huge borrowing deficit.

The Chancellor was forced to revise his estimates for the rate at which the UK economy will shrink this year.

The Chancellor has delivered one of the most important Budgets in years against a backdrop of rising unemployment, soaring government borrowing and quite possibly the hardest hitting recession since the Second World War.

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