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'More should have been done to aid employment'

FASHION entrepreneur Mette Baillie was disappointed to find that the Budget seemed to include little that would help her Freja Designer Dressmaking business.

Before George Osborne's speech, Ms Baillie highlighted a range of areas in which the Chancellor could make life easier for small firms, such as Edinburgh-based Freja.

"They have been predicting that it will be a Budget for business growth, I hope they put their money where their mouth is," said the 43-year-old, who has big ambitions for Freja.

With a staff of four, Freja makes bespoke dresses for a customer base that includes brides and ladies in public roles.

It has turnover of around £140,000.

Ms Baillie would like to launch her own line of clothes made in Britain. This would require big up front investment in equipment, staff and marketing.

She hoped Mr Osborne would make it easier for the firm to invest and to employ more staff.

"There's a lot of red tape to deal with as a small business without a HR department," she lamented. "It's hard work running a small business."

Ms Baillie also wanted Mr Osborne to reduce the company's tax burden and to help cut the cost of key overheads such as transport and power.

Following the Budget, she welcomed Mr Osborne's talk of boosting investment and exports, but struggled to see what it would mean for Freja.

She was disappointed the Budget did not include any measures to cut the costs or administrative burden involved in employing people in Scotland.

Ms Baillie felt Mr Osborne's flagship move to increase the Annual Investment Allowance tax break for firms that invest in equipment, from £250,000 to £500,000, would not provide help to a firm of Freja's size.

She does not think Freja is involved in the kind of work that could allow it to benefit from the increase in the rate of relief that qualifying firms can claim for research and development expenditure announced by Mr Osborne.

Ms Baillie welcomed the decision to freeze the increase in fuel duty planned for September.

However, she wondered how much benefit her firm would enjoy from a £7 billion scheme to cut power bills that was targeted at energy intensive manufacturers.

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