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London Chamber of Commerce and IndustryLondon Chamber of Commerce and Industry
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LCCI responds to Chancellor's Budget statement

Ahead of the Budget, LCCI set out what we wanted to see from the Chancellor Philip Hammond to support London businesses.

Our priorities included removing the borrowing caps on local authority Housing Revenue Accounts to help councils build more homes, steps to address concerns over the impact of business rates on the capital, and progress taking forward Crossrail 2.

Our key message was that boosting business confidence is key, and requires concrete steps to address the capital’s pressing domestic priorities as its population continues to grow towards ‘megacity’ status.

So what did we make of the Budget? There are certainly elements to be welcomed, and much which reflects the calls LCCI made in the run up to it.

For example, the Government appears to have listened to business concerns about business rates, accepting recommendations from Chambers of Commerce to bring forward changes linking future increases in rates to the CPI rather than RPI measure of inflation (the former consistently lower) by two years to April 2018. Also, future revaluations will take place every three years instead of five – helping businesses avoid ‘cliff-edge’ rises and better plan.

Important announcements were also made with regard to addressing the housing crisis. LCCI has long said that a lack of affordable housing is one of the biggest barriers to recruiting and retaining staff, and the help announced today that HRA borrowing caps can be lifted in areas with a high demand – something we championed before today’s Budget - is welcome.

On Crossrail 2, we also welcomed the acknowledgement by the Chancellor that investment in the capital’s infrastructure is needed. However, we await to see what the ‘independent review of funding’ will mean for the project, and hope that this does not mean further delay in giving it the green light.

Overall, we are pleased with the direction of travel, particularly the acknowledgement that serious strides have to be made in addressing the housing crisis, and signs that the Government is acting on business advice and concerns.