Chancellor needs to lift confidence in Budget, Business West warns as inflation hits five-year high

October 17, 2017

Firms across Swindon and Wiltshire are looking for Chancellor Philip Hammond to deliver a shot in the arm and lift confidence in next month’s Budget following today’s rise in inflation, according to the region’s largest business group.

The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose to 3% in September, according to today’s official figures – taking it to its highest level since April 2012.

While the rise was not unexpected – the CPI had been at 2.9% in August and food and transport have been becoming increasingly expensive – worryingly for businesses it could now trigger an increase in interest rates when the Bank of England monetary policy committee meets next month.

Business West, the organisation behind the Initiative in Swindon and Wiltshire, today said businesses were becoming concerned about rising prices and their likely impact on interest rates.

Initiative director Ian Larrard said: “[Bank of England governor] Mark Carney has suggested that inflation will peak shortly, before easing back in 2018. This remains to be seen, so a rise in interest rates could be imminent.

“To this end, business will hope that next month’s Autumn Budget will help to allay their fears and give a much-needed shot in the arm for business confidence.”

The Budget takes place on November 22.

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