Monday, April 22, 2024

Chancellor urged to use budget to create climate in which businesses can grow

The British Chambers of Commerce is calling for the Chancellor to use next month’s Budget to work in partnership with business to develop a sustainable growth plan.

The organisation is calling for:

  • Government to match industry-led funding of £3m for planning qualifications to help plug the lack of local resource
  • Ministers should commit to fund business led Local Skills Improvement Plans beyond the current 2025 cut off point to at least 2028
  • The VAT registration review should be restarted with a view to removing the existing cliff edge
  • Government should reform business rates to make it a tax that incentivises growth
  • The Chancellor should introduce a new internationally competitive tax-free shopping scheme

Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the BCC said businesses wanted to work in partnership with Government to get the UK economy growing again.

“The Chancellor has shown he is in listening mode. At the Autumn Statement we were pleased to see full expensing made permanent and business rate relief. The Budget is an opportunity to build on that good work and further accelerate help for business.

“Our recommendations are solution focused. We’re actively working with industry to develop a UK-wide, private sector funded programme to train more planners to work in local planning authorities, to boost their planning skills and capacity. Alongside our fund, we’re calling for the Chancellor to provide more funding to LPA’s in greatest need of skills. That will support the authorities, to employ the additional graduates and upskilled professionals we are training. Unlocking our planning system is crucial to economic growth.

“Our latest research shows that many SMEs are struggling because of business rates, and are limiting their expansion plans because of the VAT threshold.  The Chancellor should use his statement next month to announce plans to make rates fairer and restart the VAT registration review.

“Attracting, retaining and developing people with the right skills is crucial for business. But far too many employers are struggling to do that. Business-led Local Skills Improvement  Plans (LSIPs) are key to resolving skills shortages. They are  already making a huge difference in communities across England. LSIPs need long-term commitment and funding, to ensure people can access the training they need for great jobs.

“A new internationally competitive tax-free shopping scheme would help turbocharge the UK’s retail and hospitality sectors, bringing benefit to all corners of the UK through economic growth and tax revenue.  The Government must signal that the UK is open for business.

“With the clock ticking before the General Election, next month’s Budget must outline the sustainable growth plan businesses are crying out for.”

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