Business West, the leading business organisation that runs the Swindon Initiative, is urging Chancellor George Osborne to deliver a Budget next week that creates an environment for enterprise and boosts business confidence.
With the economy remaining sluggish and few signs of recovery, the Chancellor has little scope to make major changes in his Budget next Wednesday.
But Business West managing director Phil Smith believes Mr Osborne must introduce ‘bold’ measures to kick-start the economy and get business confidence moving.
He said: “We call on the government to stop relying on ‘hope’ as a strategy and deliver now on existing promises as well as commit to new growth measures. Many local businesses believe they can drive growth this year, but they can’t do it alone. Time is running out. Bold action must be taken now to boost confidence so that businesses can create wealth and prosperity.
“We want to see new commitments, around direct investment in much-needed new housing, road maintenance and broadband infrastructure; a freeze on business rates for the next three years; expand support for companies exporting to overseas markets because there are still too few UK businesses exporting; provide more support to SME businesses with ambitions to grow and make it easier for them to access this support.”
Business West also runs the chambers of commerce in Bristol, Bath and Gloucestershire.
A recent survey of local businesses by Business West identified the following issues as top of the business wish list to be included in the Budget:
• 30% want very small businesses exempt from VAT
• 18% want further reductions in Corporation Tax
• 15% still think access to finance needs to be significantly improved for SMEs
• 14% had freezing business rates at the top of their agenda
• 12% want further simplification of employment law
• 10% would prioritise reducing fuel prices
In common with other chambers of commerce across the county, Business West is calling for a number of key Budget measures, including:
• The British Business Bank – a clear timetable for delivery is needed quickly.
• Progress on the Heseltine Recommendations around Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), single pot funding and the role of chambers of commerce.
• Fast forward much needed infrastructure investment so we can see the benefits quicker.
• Improve the funding for lending scheme so business do actually benefit.
• Stop stalling the long awaited rates review. Businesses are suffering and need action now to reduce rate bills that are currently based on market highs of 2008.
• Commit to increase the amount of land available for development in growth areas, alongside a comprehensive review of green belts to help unlock opportunities for jobs and housing growth.
• Improve advice and guidance to small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) seeking to borrow so access to finance is less of an issue.
Bath Business News will be reporting on the Budget and its impact on the West’s economy and businesses as it happens next Wednesday.
Free legal advice clinics are being offered to small and medium-sized Wiltshire firms thinking about exporting their goods and services. Swindon and Bath-based law...