£6bn tax on jobs eclipses Chancellor’s £2.5bn Budget to boost business

COMMENTING on today’s Budget, James Ramsbotham, North East Chamber of Commerce chief executive, said:

“The Chancellor’s £2.5bn budget to boost businesses is dwarfed by the £6bn tax on jobs he delivered last year when he hiked employer national insurance contributions by 1%.

“While there were some welcome announcements today there was little clarity on how the public finances will be tackled in the medium term which businesses need to have the confidence to invest.”

On individual policy announcements, Andrew Sugden, NECC director of policy and membership, said:

Accelerated development zones – “NECC called in its Budget submission for the Government to pilot an accelerated development zone in the region to stimulate local authority investment in infrastructure for business. Given the £800m-plus tailing off in local authority capital spending plans in the next three years this is a welcome move by the Government to bolster investment in local infrastructure.  There are projects in the North East that are prime candidates to pilot these schemes.”

Fuel duty – “We welcome the concession to stagger fuel duty this year however NECC has already demonstrated that North East businesses bear an £85m extra tax burden from this compared with London and there is no sign that the Chancellor takes this regional impact seriously.”

Banking – “There is still a major issue of liquidity in the financial markets to be addressed despite the welcome introduction of the small business credit adjudication service.”

Procurement – “The commitment to helping SMEs to win more Government contracts is a victory for NECC’s Buy North East campaign. But, there is a much wider public sector market and other bodies need to follow suit.”

Infrastructure – “The new green investment bank will no doubt recognise the massive opportunities that the North East provides in creating a low carbon economy. We look forward to a major slice of that investment coming to businesses in this region. In particular, the fund for offshore wind turbine manufacture will be directly relevant to the North East given our location and expertise.

“The national infrastructure strategy fails to set out clearly which investments will benefit the North East.”

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