THE woman at the helm of the company charged with regenerating Swindon believes the town has a bright future.

But she has refused to discuss her plans with the Swindon Advertiser.

Karen Walker has recently taken over as chief executive of Forward Swindon, and has said she believes this week’s Budget is good news for the town.

But, despite talking to the national press, she has turned down several invitations from her local newspaper for an interview.

In an interview in the Financial Times, Mrs Walker states the tax break announced by George Osbourne in the latest budget is only good news for the town.

In the article she said the tax break represented a “great marketing line for us”.

And when asked if neighbouring towns such as Reading would be annoyed by the disparity in tax treatment, she said: “I hope so. It is always good to be seen as a competitor.”

The chancellor announced the three-year scheme as part of a package intended primarily to help the north and Midlands. It will exempt new businesses from paying up to £5,000 in employer national insurance for each of the first 10 employees hired in the first year of business.

The tax break, worth up to £50,000, will be tempting for many footloose entrepreneurs.

Simon Tasker, who runs a number of IT companies from his base in West Swindon, has said the tax break is the boost that smaller businesses need.

He said: “I think that this is going to promote more businesses to come to Swindon and make it more attractive to trade here.

“I think it is great that smaller businesses will also benefit and it is not just the big Fat Cat corporations who are lining their pockets.

“Swindon has a good, strong business community and one I think will grow and grow.”