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London Chamber of Commerce and IndustryLondon Chamber of Commerce and Industry
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Spring Budget Must Set Out Strategic Economic Plan To Restore Business Confidence

Tuesday 20 February 2024

The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has today called on Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to address four key issues in the upcoming Spring Budget in order to restore stability and supercharge productivity and growth.

The combination of rising operating costs, high energy prices, and high interest rates means businesses have less available capital to invest for growth –the implications of which we will feel well into the longer term.

It is vital that the Government implements a clearly prioritised, long-term and targeted plan for UK business recovery.

In a letter sent this week, LCCI urged the Chancellor to include the following key measures in the upcoming Budget:

  • The reintroduction of VAT-free shopping for international visitors
    • Restoring VAT-free shopping would enhance London's global competitiveness, reversing the perception of being 20% more expensive than European counterparts. This move is crucial to revive the tourism industry, safeguarding employment, investments, and economic growth.
  • Securing a Long-Term funding solution for TfL
    • London's extensive transport network is indispensable for business operations and city connectivity. To ensure its sustainability, we urge the government to establish a stable, long-term funding solution, ending the cycle of short-term political decisions.
  • Apprenticeship Levy reform
    • Simplify and enhance the Apprenticeship Levy to address its current limitations. London businesses would benefit from a more user-friendly system with greater flexibility to nurture a skilled workforce and thrive in today's economy.
  • A solution to the energy crisis affecting businesses
    • The Government must work to combat rising energy costs, which continue to burden businesses and hinder economic confidence. Intervention is needed to alleviate these pressures, preventing further price increases and mitigating the detrimental effects of high inflation on the economy.

Karim Fatehi MBE, Interim Chief Executive of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said:

“As we approach the Spring Budget, it's imperative that Chancellor Hunt prioritizes London's businesses' urgent needs. The current operating climate is unsustainable for many businesses; rising operating costs, soaring energy prices, and high interest rates are stifling productivity and hampering economic recovery efforts.

“The reintroduction of VAT-free shopping is crucial for competitiveness, tourism, and economic growth. Long-term funding for TfL is vital for citywide connectivity and operations. Apprenticeship Levy reform is needed to support workforce development effectively and addressing the energy crisis is much needed to alleviate burdens on businesses and boost confidence.

“On behalf of London's vibrant business community, we urge The Chancellor to heed our call and take swift, decisive action in the Spring Budget. Now is the time for strategic economic planning and proactive measures to restore business confidence and ensure London remains as the premier global city for business.”

Read here the letter in full.

ENDS

Media contact

London Chamber Press Office
T: +44 (0)20 7203 1897
E: press@londonchamber.co.uk

Katie O’Brien
M: 07767 110632
E: katie.obrien@sanctuarycounsel.com