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Initial BCC reaction to Budget 2018: A shot in the arm for business investment and growth

Giving his initial reaction to the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“In an atmosphere of unprecedented uncertainty and heightened political noise, the Chancellor has demonstrated that he is listening to business concerns by delivering a Budget that supports investment and growth.

“The Chancellor responded directly to the BCC’s calls for bold incentives to turbo-charge business investment, for steps to support high street businesses struggling with business rates, and for measures that cut the cost of apprenticeships for SMEs. Philip Hammond has sent important and positive signals to businesses across the UK, many of whom have been wavering on investment and hiring. Crucially, the Chancellor has avoided major increases to business tax to fund the government’s spending priorities, which would have undermined the confidence boost to firms from his commitments to supporting enterprise and growth.

“We are delighted that the Chancellor has listened to the voice of Chambers of Commerce and has boosted the Annual Investment Allowance to £1million. This will be a huge shot in the arm for businesses across the country, giving many thousands of firms renewed confidence to invest and grow.

“While today’s Budget measures were largely positive for business, the final and most important piece of the jigsaw is a comprehensive Brexit deal that gives firms the clarity and precision they need. The pro-business measures announced in the Budget will only yield their greatest possible results when paired with a Brexit deal that delivers certainty on the UK’s future terms of trade beyond March 2019.”

Ends

Notes to editors:

The British Chambers of Commerce proposed in its Budget Submission:

  • An exceptional ‘Brexit Investment Incentive’ – with the Annual Investment Allowance boosted to £1m to ‘crowd in’ both domestic and international investment – and stem the weakening in business investment in the face of Brexit uncertainty.
  • Introduce a Business Rates Investment Incentive – ease the drag effect of this uniquely iniquitous business tax on investment by providing a 12-month delay before rates are increased when an existing property is expanded or improved and also before rates apply to a new build property.
  • A commitment to no new taxes or costs on businesses for the remainder of this parliament - giving businesses the headroom to adjust to Brexit and to invest, recruit and grow.
  • Deliver real UK-wide reform to the apprenticeship levy and drop SME co-funding for apprenticeships in England – to ensure that the training system works for everyone and eases the UK’s chronic skills shortage.
  • Delay the roll-out of Making Tax Digital for all businesses by one year – to provide HMRC and businesses with the headroom to prepare for this major change to the way tax is collected.
  • Abandon the uprating of business rates for the next two financial years for all businesses on the high street in town and city centres - to ease the financial burden on struggling businesses as they go through significant structural changes.
  • Provide the funding needed to achieve full mobile coverage along transport corridors (road and rail) – a crucial step to improving digital connectivity and productivity for businesses that need to communicate with new and existing customers, suppliers and employees.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) sits at the heart of a powerful network of 53 Accredited Chambers of Commerce across the UK, representing thousands of businesses of all sizes and within all sectors. Our Global Business Network connects exporters with nearly 40 markets around the world. For more information, visit: www.britishchambers.org.uk

The BCC has launched a campaign aimed at eradicating not-spots for mobile voice coverage. Add your not-spot here.

Media contacts:

Allan Williams – Head of Press and Communications

020 7654 5812 / 07920583381

Orla Hennessy – Press and Communications Manager

020 7654 5813 / 07825746812

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