Chamber reaction to the Spring Budget

West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce welcomes moves to help restore our economy to growth although expresses concern on behalf of the many companies will cope when support on energy costs is withdrawn.

Measures on childcare, tax, carbon capture and the introduction of new Investment Zones across the country have the potential to strengthen our labour force, create new jobs and grow our economy.

Similarly, the Chamber welcomes the news that the UK is now forecast to avoid a recession and that inflation will fall to below three per cent by the end of the year.

However, with many firms facing a cliff edge on energy costs from the start of next month, the lack of movement on additional support will prove a bitter blow that will leave many companies, most notably those in hospitality, in a battle for survival.

Amanda Beresford, chair of the West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “After such a lengthy period of instability, it is pleasing to hear that the forecast for the UK’s economy is more positive than had been previously predicted. The OBR’s predictions of Britain avoiding recession and for inflation to decline to 2.9 per cent are far better than feared and provide a platform for growth which we must now seize.

“The creation of an Investment Zone in West Yorkshire is welcome as it has great potential to create jobs and attract new capital into our region.

“Similarly, investment into Carbon Capture is a high-growth, future-facing industry which is not only of huge benefit to our environment but is also an area in which Yorkshire is ideally situated to excel.

“The Chancellor’s move to make childcare more affordable will have a positive impact on the labour force and improve the career prospects of thousands of women in particular.

“While the confirmed rise in Corporation Tax is a blow for many firms already feeling the pinch, we acknowledge that tax boosts for SMEs around R&D and full capital expensing will help ease pressures.

“Finally, the lack of movement on energy prices will mean many businesses will face a fight for survival from next month when assistance ends.”

Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

“The Chancellor has acted to address the unfilled jobs blighting our economy. It is especially good to see the help on childcare and for over 50s workers. The plans for full capital expensing are also a step in a right direction to offset the rise in corporation tax, but the jury is out on how much it will help businesses compared to the Super Deduction scheme.

 “Almost half of businesses have told us they will struggle to pay their energy bills from April, and they cannot invest when they are fighting to survive. There is little in today’s announcement that will provide comfort to these firms.  

“The Government also failed to reform business rates which we have repeatedly called for. If the UK’s innovative growth industries are to remain competitive on the world stage, then Government must shift the dial further on investment, both within the UK and from overseas.”

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