Commenting on the Chancellor’s announcement of support to households in response to the cost of living crisis, East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles said: “The sheer scale of the cost-of living crisis facing the British public means the Government is absolutely right to provide additional support to those worst affected.
“However, companies will be hugely disappointed there was nothing in the Chancellor’s statement to help them in the short and medium terms, given we are in the grip of a very real cost of doing business crisis that shows no sign of slowing down with inflation continuing to rise.
“Rising costs for energy, raw materials and people are having a huge impact on companies’ bottom line, with our latest Quarterly Economic Survey showing two-thirds of East Midlands firms expected to be forced into increasing their own prices in the first quarter of this year.
“Unless steps are also taken to ease business costs, these issues will likely feed into the inflationary pressure on the economy and quickly eat into the financial support announced today.
“A reduction in VAT to 5% on firms’ energy bills and deferring the increase to national insurance contributions until April next year would directly alleviate some of this pressure to raise prices, giving them the breathing space they need to raise productivity and strengthen the economy.”