Bondholder East Midlands Chamber is urging Chancellor George Osborne to focus on growth and not austerity in tomorrow’s budget.
In particular, the Chamber is lobbying for infrastructure investment such as the east wing of HS2 and the Midland Mainline electrification to be prioritised.
Chris Hobson, Director of Policy and External Affairs is seeking a “more balanced approach to help remove the worst of the spending ‘rollercoaster’ predicted by the OBR.“
East Midlands Chamber has identified six key areas which it believes the Chancellor should focus on and is calling on him to deliver a Budget which supports business to:
- Move: The Government must recognise the importance of infrastructure investment in the East Midlands and should clarify, without delay, its delivery and spending plans for major infrastructure improvement schemes including the Eastern Leg or HS2, the electrification of the Midlands Main Line, the widening of the M1 motorway through the region to four lanes and utilising the spare capacity at East Midlands Airport in the period before the new runway is built at Heathrow.
- Invest: Further clarity is needed over annual investment allowance changes at the end of the year - a vital tool for businesses looking to grow.
- Innovate and Diversify: R&D tax credits have had a good run in recent Budgets and Autumn Statements. Headline rates have become more generous for both large and small companies and these should extended.
- Export: There are huge opportunities in the global marketplace for local firms working in all areas, from small-scale production through to high-end services. It's working in all areas, from small-scale production through to high-end services. It's crucial that businesses thinking of starting to export or those looking to grow their international activities can access the support and finance they need to achieve their ambitions. To address this, the Government should implement in full the recommendations of the Cole Commission's final report into UK exports
- Attain skills: While the Chamber has long argued that businesses should have a bigger say over how training funding is spent, many companies - SMEs in particular - are not in a position to take full control over apprenticeship funding. It is therefore essential that the Government provides clear direction to businesses on funding reform, taking into account all sizes of employer, to give firms the confidence to invest in developing and training their workforce.
- Manage their day-to-day challenges: Business rates remain a key issue for businesses of all sizes. Ensuring that the Business Review announced at Autumn Statement 2014 delivers fundamental reform to fix uniquely iniquitous approach to taxing business is essential.