Wednesday 3 December 2014
Chancellor goes some way to boost business, but could have gone further
Commenting on the Chancellor's Autumn Statement announcement today, Chief Executive of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Colin Stanbridge, said: "The Chancellor has gone some way to boost business, but he could have gone further to secure a better deal for the drivers of the UK economy.
"Firstly, business rates. We welcome the extension of business rates relief and a commitment to review the business rates system, which is long overdue. However, this cannot be a ploy to kick this thorny issue into the long grass. The Chancellor must keep up the momentum and ensure that recommendations are implemented to give more flexibility to respond to changes in the broader economy.
"Reform of the Stamp Duty regime will help first time buyers to get on the property ladder, stimulating the market; however we really need solid measures to incentivise house building. London businesses in particular are suffering as a result of the short supply, and therefore increasing price, of housing within easy access of the centres of employment. We need to help the industry to build more homes to ease the housing shortage, which is felt most acutely in the capital.
"On apprenticeships, removing National Insurance payments for apprentices under 21 will help to incentivise employers to recruit and train young apprentices, however the funding for apprenticeships after 19 remains uncertain. We have been calling for government to extend funding for apprenticeships, to ensure consistency in the system.
"Finally, the Chancellor confirmed the devolution deal for Manchester. Now it is London's turn. More power over its finances would ensure the capital could set economic priorities and stimulate growth, locally.
"In yesterday's National Infrastructure Plan, an opportunity was missed to boost the much-needed Crossrail2 project, with no significant funding allocated, despite ongoing calls from business. If London had power over its' purse strings, we could have start got spades in the ground already.
"The Chancellor said his door is open to other cities looking for more devolved power, it is high time the calls from London were heard."
Jo Hooper, Press & Media Relations Manager
T: +44 (0)20 7203 1897
M: +44 (0)7827 241528
NOTES TO EDITOR:
- London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) is the capital's largest and most representative business organisation, with members ranging in size from multi-national companies to SMEs and sole traders.
- Colin Stanbridge is available for further comment and interview.