Rishi Sunak’s Winter Economic Plan: National business reaction

September 24, 2020

Measures in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Winter Economic Plan have been welcomed as “bold steps” and “a shot in the arm” for industry by the UK’s leading business groups.

The CBI said it would save hundreds of thousands of viable jobs while the British Chambers of Commerce said it would help many companies hold on to valued, skilled employees.

CBI director-general Dame Carolyn Fairbairn said: “It is right to target help on jobs with a future but can only be part-time while demand remains flat.

“This is how skills and jobs can be preserved to enable a fast recovery.  These bold steps from the Treasury will save hundreds of thousands of viable jobs this winter.”

She said wage support, tax deferrals and help for the self-employed would reduce the “scarring effect of unnecessary job losses as the UK tackles the virus”.

The CBI wants to see further business rates relief remaining an option.

“Employers will apply the same spirit of creativity, seizing every opportunity to retrain and upskill their workers,” Dame Carolyn added.

“The Chancellor has listened to evidence from business and unions, acting decisively. It is this spirit of agility and collaboration that will help make 2021 a year of growth and renewal.”

British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) director general Adam Marshall said: “Chambers of commerce have consistently called for a new generation of support to help protect livelihoods and ease the cash pressures faced by firms as they head into a challenging and uncertain winter.

“The measures announced by the Chancellor will give business and the economy an important shot in the arm.”

He said the Chancellor had responded to the BCC’s concerns with substantial steps that would help companies preserve jobs and navigate through the coming months.

“The new Jobs Support Scheme will help many companies hold on to valued, skilled employees. Businesses will be eager to see the detail and consider whether and how they will be able to use the scheme,” he added.

The Chancellor had also listened to the BCC’s calls for an extension of business lending schemes, more flexible repayment terms for loans, and tax forbearance measures, said Mr Marshall.

“With almost 40% of our firms saying they have three months cash in reserve or less, this will lessen the immediate pressure and provide reassurance for many affected firms at a challenging time.

“The Chancellor must remain open to taking additional action to support parts of the economy facing unprecedented challenges over the months ahead.

“Chambers of Commerce across the UK will continue to work with government to ensure the benefits of these schemes are delivered to firms on the ground.”

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