Chamber thinks Chancellor could have done more for small businesses and economic growth
Chamber Thinks Chancellor Could Have Done More
For Small Businesses and Economic Growth
The Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, whilst welcoming certain aspects of the Chancellor’s 2012 Budget, would like to have seen more focus on measures to support business and promote economic growth.
Whilst credit easing is a positive step and the National Loan Guarantee Scheme will help with the affordability of some loans, it won’t help certain high-growth and newer companies who struggle to obtain credit in the first place. Hopefully the extra £200m funding for the Business Finance Partnership (taking it to £1.2bn) will help fill gaps due to the continued difficulties being experienced with availability of bank finance. We welcomed positive measures aimed at easing the regulatory burden and the undertaking to overhaul planning regulations (reducing guidance notes down from 1000 pages to 50). The proposed new Planning regime, whist still protecting the environment, will embrace a presumption of acceptance for sustainable developments which will provide confidence and greater clarity of understanding regarding development projects. The planned reduction in large-company Corporation Tax to 24%, reducing to 22% by 2014, will help make the UK more attractive to overseas investors - but unfortunately nothing was done about the small business rate which remains at 20% and could have been reduced to reinvigorate the long-suffering SME sector.
We are disappointed that the Chancellor did not listen to our campaign to abate the 5.6% increase in business rates which will be taking effect from April. This will have a telling effect on small and medium-sized companies who need help, not swingeing rates rises, if they are to regain the confidence to invest and resume recruitment.
We are pleased to see the inclusion of several measures for which the Chamber has lobbied hard. The go-ahead for the Northern Rail Hub was particularly welcome and marked another success in the Chamber’s ongoing campaign for significant improvements to regional rail connectivity, and this development will considerably enhance the operational capacity and efficiency of the Caldervale line.
We are also pleased with the additional help with tax credits for Research and Development, the promise of more help for our exporters, and tax simplification measures for smaller companies.
Chamber Head of Policy, Steven Leigh, added:
"More should have been done to support growth. We wrote a letter to the Chancellor ahead of the budget urging him to take action on several key issues, but unfortunately he has felt unable to introduce a number of our suggestions. Significantly, the Budget failed to address youth unemployment, and the growing trend of long-term joblessness which threatens to deal significant damage to the UK’s economy. We lobbied for Employers’ NI holidays for firms in the UK taking on young people, whether or not from unemployment, arguing that it is counter-productive to tax companies for taking on young people during a period of high unemployment. If we are serious as a Nation about resolving this problem, small to medium-sized companies will need help and encouragement to play their part – not the additional burden of a tax on jobs."