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Businesses not confident business rates will lead to local growth

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Half of businesses are not convinced that the additional income from business rates will be sufficiently invested to promote local growth, according to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

George Osborne is expected to announce details on business rates for local authorities at the Budget on 16 March 2016. 

66% of businesses are aware of the Chancellor’s plans, however 46% are not confident that their local authorities would set suitable rates to support growth.

The ICAEW also reported that:

  • 72% of businesses want investment from business rates to improve local transport infrastructure
  • 55% want to attract more regional investment
  • 50% want investment towards superfast broadband, increased adult training (50%), building homes (41%) and creating more workspace (25%).
  • 60% of businesses in the North East, North West and Yorkshire want additional income to be spent on attracting more investment.

Stephen Ibbotson, ICAEW director of business, said: 

“Devolution was cited by the Chancellor as helping to attract investment and drive regional growth. But many businesses do not have confidence in their local authorities to invest any additional income raised through business rates in the right places. This is worrying given the expected economic slowdown and the increased pressure on UK plc.

“With economic growth expected to be revised down at the Budget and the amount of money spent on these projects, the Chancellor needs to start asking businesses what they really need to help them grow.”

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