Budget 2011 – NECC response

THE Government today used the 2011 Budget statement to finally deliver the reality to back up its rhetoric, according to the region’s leading business membership organisation.

 The North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC) said that the Government had laid out its store for a rebalanced economy that saw the private sector delivering strong and sustained growth but had failed previously to deliver the measures needed.

James Ramsbotham, NECC chief executive, said: “Ever since it came to power, the coalition Government has spoken warmly about the role that businesses will play in delivering the recovery. Finally, we are seeing positive foundations for growth that the private sector can work from. This Budget has the potential to boost exports, deliver genuine growth in some of the most economically challenged areas and to accelerate the Green economy – all of which the North East is well primed to capitalise upon – but only if the substance backs up today’s announcements.”

 ENTERPRISE ZONES

 Speaking specifically about the announcement on Enterprise Zones, Ross Smith, NECC head of policy, said: “We are encouraged by the imaginative range of measures on offer in Enterprise Zones and we must make sure these are fully exploited in the two areas we will get immediately in the North East.

We hope the announcement on the detailed locations will show zones that are big enough to make a real difference in the North East but the plan for 21 across the country smacks of spreading a policy too thin.”

 NECC called in its Budget submission for the Government to deliver a Budget which stimulates export, employment and investment in Carbon Reduction Schemes to develop a green 21st century economy.

 EXPORT

Jonathan Walker, NECC export policy adviser, said: “The future of the UK economy lies in the competitiveness of our exports. The Chancellor’s planned increase in tax credits and capital allowances will allow manufacturers to both develop and produce exciting products. Changes to fuel duty will provide a boost to hauliers to help move these products on and the freeze in air passenger duty will undoubtedly assist businesses seeking to break into new markets. But, continued reforms are necessary to take into account the impact of this duty on regional airports.”

 EMPLOYMENT

Andrew Sugden, NECC director of membership and policy, said: “We welcome reduced regulation for businesses. The commitment to increased apprenticeship places on the face of it is a positive move but it lacks details about how individual businesses can be incentivised to genuinely increase employment.”

 GREEN ECONOMY

Mark Stephenson, NECC energy policy adviser, said:  “The Green Bank is £3bn investment in the context of a £300bn green economy. This is £2bn more money than was forecast and it will be available more swiftly. It is up to the North East to come forward with good projects quickly to make sure we can get a large proportion of that investment.

“Much needed clarity on the Renewable Heat Incentive and Feed In Tariff was absent which is stalling multi-million-pound investments in the North East. The carbon price support measures could prove hugely damaging to energy users in the region.”

  Planning

Ross Smith, NECC head of policy, said: “The Chancellor’s comments on planning are hugely encouraging. We need to see Eric Pickles back this up with reform to his potentially damaging Localism Bill.”

 Additional benefits in the Budget:

Andrew Sugden, NECC director of membership policy, said: “NECC welcomed the raft of other measures to support growth, in particular the reduction in corporation tax this year and for the next three; the introduction of the fair fuel stabiliser; the commitment to reduce bureaucracy; and the consultation on the proposed merger of National Insurance and Income Tax.

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