Reacting to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, BCC Director General, Shevaun Haviland, said:
“The Chancellor has stayed true to his word in focusing on financial stability and targeting support for the most vulnerable in society. But in the teeth of a recession, this statement will not increase business confidence.
“Businesses will look at today’s announcements and welcome support with business rates, and retention of the employment allowance, though the reduction in the dividend allowance will impact many smaller firms.
“Almost half of businesses tell us they will find it difficult to pay their energy bills once the Government’s Energy Bill Relief Scheme ends on 31 March 2023. The sooner we get clarity on where future support will be targeted the better.
“It is good news to hear plans to improve energy efficiency across the economy, but we need to see greater urgency as firms battle with their bills in the here and now.
“It is also good news that Sizewell C will proceed, and we are relieved that HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail have not been cut further. These projects will provide a major boost to regional economies as well as improving our national infrastructure.
“The Government must do more to improve conditions for businesses to invest and grow, otherwise we will be starting from a weak base to power our recovery once global economic conditions stabilise.
“The Chancellor’s Statement is light on green innovation, doesn’t address current labour shortages and has nothing on boosting export led-growth.”