Pressure on Chancellor for a ‘Budget for business’

Chancellor George Osborne must take a business minded approach to next week’s Budget to encourage company growth, investment and create new jobs, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has said.

The comment comes ahead of the BCC’s annual conference in which it will argue that the Chancellor should utilise the Government spending surplus and implement changes in order to ‘starve off stagnation’ and ‘weak growth’.

According to calculations from the BCC, the Government could comfortably implement new and specific initiatives to support businesses, costing the Exchequer a maximum of £4.2 billion.

Such initiatives include scrapping the upcoming business rate rise to 5.6 per cent, the restoral of the Empty Property Rate Relief (EPRR) to £18,000, the introduction of a time-limited capital allowance for medium sized companies, and an incentive for employers to take on young workers.

The BCC also suggested credit easing measures including the creation of a bank solely dedicated to SME financing and a speeding-up of the National Infrastructure plan.
Commenting on the upcoming Budget, the BCC’s director general John Longworth, said that ‘George Osborne faces one of the most challenging Budgets in recent years.’

“He can either take bold steps to create growth in the economy by introducing measures to support business, or shy away and face the spectre of economic stagnation. He has to pull out all the stops to boost British business by providing them with a Budget for growth. Firms need an environment in which they can thrive, create jobs, and export our goods and services abroad.

“Without a strong and prosperous private sector, we will be unable to provide the public services we all want or need. The Chancellor must stick to Plan A, but use the wiggle room he has to scrap the 5.6% business rate rise that will cripple many businesses.
“Without concerted action in these areas, the potential for businesses to grow will be limited, and so will the economic recovery.”

Pressure was also piled on by opposition leader Ed Miliband who speaking at a pre-Budget press conference, emphasised the need for a Budget which will encourage short term growth in the economy and boost young employment.

We will be covering Budget 2012 live as it happens on Wednesday 21 March.