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SMALL businesses in Northumberland will be exempt from complex EU accounting regulations following a vote in the European Parliament.

Qualifying firms must now only comply with national rules, which usually demand very basic information.

North East MEP Fiona Hall, who voted in favour of freeing small businesses from drawing up heavy annual accounts, said: “It is pure common sense to exempt small businesses that rarely operate across borders from complicated accounting rules.

“Of course it’s important for small firms to provide basic information to meet national laws on transparency and tax regulation, but we must not make this process more complicated than necessary.”