A budget wishlist

It’s only a few weeks until UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt delivers his first ‘proper’ full size budget, setting out the government’s plans to grow the economy. And given the serious headwinds facing the UK – inflation remains high, growth sluggish and industrial relations at a very low ebb.

Given all that, observers are focusing on what Hunt prioritises in the Budget: will he focus on supporting those still battered by the cost of living crisis, or put the emphasis on encouraging business investment? Whatever the Budget delivers, the British Chambers of Commerce has outlined what it believes should be the four main issues that the Chancellor must address.

They are:

  • Unlocking talent and easing pressure in the labour market by making childcare more affordable for cash-strapped parents and guardians.
  • Boosting the UK’s start-ups by further reforming the business rates system to remove the upfront financial squeeze they face
  • Setting a framework for Solvency II investment that helps direct funds to where they can have the most impact, leveraging the opportunities of green innovation
  • Funding to help businesses become greener and more energy efficient

Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the BCC, said:

“The last three years have put UK business under huge stress, and we urgently need to see coherent policies from Government that set the economy on a path to growth.”

But everywhere they turn, businesses see barriers to investment and expansion. They cannot get staff, they cannot pay their energy bills and business rates, they cannot get decent loans or easily shift to greener technology and systems.

“We need to unlock the potential of our start up and scale up firms by giving them some certainty on the future and relieving the upfront cost pressures that strangle their ambition before they can get off the ground.

“Chambers are already developing their own accelerators to help firms invest in greener and more energy efficient technologies and systems, but Government needs to do more.

“These measures could transform the landscape for hard-pressed businesses and free them from the shackles that are binding our economy.”

The budget is set for March 15.

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