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British Chambers of Commerce: Initial reaction to Spring Budget 2017

Giving his initial reaction to the Chancellor’s Budget, Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“Businesses had been advised to expect minimal change, rather than a blockbuster Budget, and Philip Hammond did not disappoint.

“Short-term support for firms hardest-hit by business rates rises will be welcomed, along with commitments to technical education, digital connectivity, easier R&D tax credits, and a one-year delay to digital tax reporting for the very smallest firms. Conversely, hikes to dividend taxes and national insurance for the self-employed will be viewed far less positively by entrepreneurs.

“While businesspeople appreciate a steady hand on the tiller, the government is sending mixed signals by holding investment largely steady at precisely the time that it is exhorting British businesses to double down. More needs to be done in the coming months to improve infrastructure and encourage lagging business investment to ensure the UK is Brexit-ready.”

On Business Rates, the top campaign priority for Chambers of Commerce at the Spring Budget, Marshall said:

“The business communities hardest-hit by this year’s business rates revaluation will breathe a little easier thanks to the Chancellor’s decision to offer a package of transitional reliefs.

“We now challenge councils across England to use every penny of the new funding announced by the Chancellor to offer relief to the hardest-hit businesses in their areas, without excuses and without delay.

“However welcome, measures that mitigate the short-term impact of business rate rises are little more than a sticking plaster. The radical changes needed to improve the broken business rates system will have to wait for another day. The campaign for radical reform – and an end to punishing levels of business property tax to ensure the Treasury raises enough to fund local services – continues.”