Business West gives 'two cheers' to the Autumn Budget

Matt Griffith
Director of Policy | Business West
22nd November 2023

Matt Griffith, Director of Policy at Business West said:

“This was a ‘two cheers’ type of budget – with some unexpected and welcome surprises set against a sombre set of economic projections and medium-term spending realities.” 

“Businesses will welcome the National Insurance reduction, which is a more significant tax cut than we were expecting. This will feed directly into workers’ pay packets, which may provide some support for employees facing costs of living pressures and boost consumer spending and take-home pay.”

“The announcement that Full Expensing will be made permanent will hopefully boost levels of private sector investment. Low levels of business investment has been a challenge for the UK for decades, and helps explain some of our poor recent performance on productivity and growth across our region and nationally. This is something that we, and the British Chamber of Commerce, have been pushing for and are very glad to see it announced.” 

“The year extension for the business rates relief for hospitality and retail, will also be warmly welcomed by these businesses, as they have been under significant pressure since Covid and add so much value to our region.” 

“However, there is also the more sombre news of downgraded economic growth forecasts, persistent levels of inflation and the prospect of very tight government departmental budgets for the years to come.”

“We are naturally disappointed that our region was not more visible in the budget. We have not been chosen as one of the government’s investment zones – the second time we have lost out on this flagship government economic policy. Our region is struggling to be recognised at a national level despite the excellent credentials we have in life sciences, clean energy, aerospace and automotive. The risk is that low visibility and level of political ambition starts to undermine our key economic assets and investor sentiment.”

“There is a pressing need for our region to start raising its profile and making the case for investment support to help transform the South West.” 

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