22 Sep 2022

Chancellor’s focus on growth welcomed by businesses – but devil will be in the detail, says East Midlands Chamber

Commenting on the first details of the Chancellor’s Growth Plan, East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire) chief executive Scott Knowles said: “Businesses will enthusiastically welcome the Chancellor’s pledge to focus on economic growth and speed up new infrastructure development.

“Businesses are the engine of growth, so giving them the tools and support they need to make key investments in their people, plant and machinery will jolt our economy into action and ultimately create the wealth that funds Government tax revenues.

“It is also good news to hear the Chancellor has woken up to the need to take action on our creaking planning system. But we need to see this reform across the country, as it is currently too slow, complex and uncertain. It stifles business investment, expansion and growth.

“Inevitably, the devil will be in the detail of these proposals, and they must strike the right balance between reform and providing for a sustainable future.

“In the East Midlands, we are particularly interested to hear about the Government’s plans for speeding up road and railway projects, given the urgency of delivering major infrastructure schemes like Midland Main Line electrification and HS2 East in order to experience the benefits as quickly as possible.

“The introduction of investment zones in Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire also has the potential to finally deliver on the Government’s long-standing promise to level up.

“Lessons need to be learned from the past – it will be crucial to get these zones right from the start, otherwise they can simply displace growth and investment from one area to another without creating new economic activity.

“But this is a bold start, and the Chancellor must now use this as a springboard to develop a comprehensive long-term economic strategy.”