Essex Chambers react to Chancellor’s Spring Statement

Business / Tue 13th Mar 2018 at 02:19pm

Essex Chambers react to Chancellor’s Spring Statement

Commenting on the Spring Statement, delivered today (Tuesday) by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Denise Rossiter, Chief Executive of Essex Chambers of Commerce, said:

“Businesses will be encouraged by the Chancellor’s report on the UK’s fiscal health, with lower projections for the deficit and falling national debt, as well as his full-throated defence of the market economy and the role of the private sector in delivering prosperity.

“Yet as deficit and debt levels improve, the Chancellor must resist calls to pour money into politically-attractive, short-term spending priorities. Any headroom the Chancellor has must be used to leave a lasting mark on the UK’s infrastructure and to attract investment – particularly with the challenges and changes of Brexit ahead.

“A far stronger push is needed to fund and fix the fundamentals here in the UK over the coming months, and business wants the Chancellor to use his Autumn Budget to double down and spend to improve digital connectivity, deliver further road and rail improvements, strengthen the UK’s energy security and build more houses. Existing plans alone are not enough as we have seen in Essex with proposals for improving the A12 and A120 still under review and businesses still complaining about poor broadband and mobile phone connectivity”.

“Given that businesses across the UK have long complained about constant tinkering with tax rates, the Statement’s lack of tax and spending changes is welcome – and not before time. A clear annual cycle will mean fewer rushed policies and give firms the time they need to plan for any changes that come their way.”

On business rates:

“We are pleased that the government has listened to our calls to make revaluations more frequent. Switching to a three-year-cycle will go some way to reducing the huge changes in rates bills that clobber firms across the UK, and enable them to plan their growth strategies with greater confidence.

“However, a system that responds more frequently to changing economic conditions must also be simpler for firms to navigate. The current system already generates a huge number of appeals, and if it is not made easier for companies, more frequent valuations would simply make this backlog mushroom. Many members of Essex Chambers would probably say that it is time to consult businesses on reforming the whole system”

On late payment:

“Previous attempts to tackle late payment have not had the desired effect, because affected firms are often unwilling to jeopardise customer relationships by calling out bad practice. The government must use its convening power to tackle this issue in sectors where it is clear that problems exist.

Phil Hammond

“Changing payment terms mid-contract, and burying payment terms in the small print when suppliers register for business, are issues that deserve ministers’ attention. However, ultimately improving relationships between businesses is a key part in addressing the problem of late payment.”

On apprenticeships and the apprenticeship levy:

“While more funding to support small businesses seeking to employ apprentices is welcome, urgent action is needed to reform and improve the apprenticeship levy – which is currently failing both businesses and the people they want to train. The levy’s lack of flexibility and its complexity are stifling the training aspirations of businesses of all sizes and we would like to see more flexibility on how the levy can be used to provide training in the workplace”

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3 Comments for Essex Chambers react to Chancellor’s Spring Statement:

2018-03-13 15:47:29

Did he mention anything about solving our massive inequality?? We’re the most unequal country in Europe! Some children in school right now will grow up, work hard and still earn 300 times less than some others in our country. No mention of that????

2018-03-13 17:25:53

Another set of empty promises and grey rhetoric from the Nasty Party. Even John Major outflanks the present sorry crop as an inspiring orator. I'd call them a zombie government but even zombies have a little life in them. The Tories are presiding over a rise in child poverty, homelessness and a catastrophic and unnecessary reorganisation of our health service which is privatisation by the back door. Time to put them firmly in the dustbin of history.

2018-03-14 07:48:27

If the REDS hadn't left us billions in debt when they were in office, we would be in clover. Perhaps the Tories have at last got to grips with it? Let's wait and see. VOTE for LABOUR at your PERIL. As for the above comments, obviously these people have short memories or are just ignoring the hash that LABOUR made after the war, and especially the seventies and eighties. Very economical with facts and stats. Remember Gordon Brown ? What about Bliar ?

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