Hampshire Chamber calls for 'business investment' Budget

Ross McNally, Hampshire Chamber Executive Chairman
Ross McNally, Hampshire Chamber Executive Chairman

Ahead of the Budget on 22 November, 2017, Ross McNally, Executive Chair of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, said:

“With Brexit taking up much of the oxygen of debate around the needs of the economy, it’s vital that the Chancellor is not distracted from tackling the fundamental issues that affect job creation, productivity and growth.

“He must focus on creating an economy that can attract investment, talent and world class innovation.  

“We have seen recent signs of improved productivity, higher levels of employment and increasing commitments to exporting, all driven by the business community.

“Businesses are doing their part in setting the scene for our post-Brexit economy and the Budget must match this commitment with measures to support them.

“For example, the Chancellor could tackle the huge, upfront costs of doing business in the UK.

“We continue to have some of the world’s highest business property taxes and still await meaningful reform of the archaic business rates system.

“On top of that, companies are increasingly absorbing more costs through the National Living Wage, Apprenticeship Levy, Insurance Premium Tax and pensions auto-enrolment.

“To add any further cost pressures now would be totally counterproductive to developing a thriving economy.

“Tax collection should be focused around performance and sharing in success, not stifling enterprise before it gets going through heavy upfront costs.

“In return for a lighter cost burden, businesses would use their improved cash flow to create jobs, train employees and modernise facilities.

“We encourage the Chancellor to take big and bold action to incentivise firms to invest.

“Philip Hammond must also commit to more investment in strategic, long-term transformative infrastructure.

“Improving rail and road transport in Hampshire is a top priority and supported by people across the county.

“One example is the plan being worked up for the Solent Metro rapid-transit system.

“Better transport links help businesses to make connections to markets, spurring job creation and boosting business confidence.

“Allied to this is house-building to support future recruitment and significant investment in digital infrastructure.

“We recognise it is vital to get a sound Brexit deal which can support business but if we don’t create the conditions for growth at home first, we won’t be in a position to meet the challenges, or take advantage of the opportunities, of our new place outside the EU.”

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