Budget reaction 'Putting the Next Generation First'

Wednesday 16 March 2016

The Chamber Chief Executive comments on today's budget announcements.

In response to today’s budget announcements John Bridge OBE DL, Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, said:

“George Osborne concluded his speech by pledging to put the next generation first. We believe that requires investing the right money into transport, infrastructure, skills and housing, not just in ten years time but today. It also means producing a devolution deal that is right for Cambridgeshire businesses and enables them to create the jobs and opportunities the next generation is looking to them to provide.

“Any devolution deal should be based on the functional economic geography and necessary investment needed to deal with the already significant infrastructure investment deficit without which continued growth of our Cambridgeshire and Peterborough economies would be at risk.

“We welcome measures that are going to help all businesses, and small businesses in particular, to reduce their costs and tax burden but await the full details that are published to ensure we fully understand exactly the implications. Despite lower economic growth forecasts, still the Chancellor has announced optimistic income that would be generated by reforms to the corporation tax system.

“In light of the revised figures, achieving a surplus in excess of £10 billion in 2019 looks difficult to achieve and with estimates of future increases in productivity also having been downgraded, there are clearly key challenges ahead for the UK economy.

“In terms of what was missing from George Osborne’s speech today, there’s disappointment across the business community that there’s not been a root and branch reform of the business rates system which is widely acknowledged as not being fit for purpose. There is a desperate need for an overhaul of the way in which business rates are valued, collected and set rather than raising limits and altering arrangements for who gets to spend the revenue.”

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