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East Midlands Chamber News

Autumn Statement Must Prioritise Business Growth

© Reddees Stock Free Images and Dreamstime Stock PhotosMore in-market support for local exporters, a £100m fund to unblock stalled developments and a new cashpot to unlock capital investment from the private sector are among the measures Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce (DNCC) is pressing for ahead of the forthcoming Autumn Statement.

The Chamber has drawn up an eight-point plan for the Chancellor, which it believes will promote business growth and exports; support construction and house-building and enable private sector investment in capital and infrastructure if implemented. It includes the following:

Measures To Promote Business Growth And Exports

  • A £100m "Growth Voucher" to give 20,000 businesses with clear growth plans up to £5,000 each to help them navigate planning system; get advice on accessing finance; or help with increasing their workforce
  • Targeted "Export Vouchers" to encourage businesses to seek out and access the support they need, from public or private sector sources, with minimum bureaucracy
  • A £100m-a-year Government investment in in-market support for UK exporters in 18 key global markets, linking businesses to new opportunities by adding in-country trade advisers as part of an accredited International Chambers network

Measures To Support Construction And House Building

  • The creation of a new £100m “unblocking fund” for stalled developments, making targeted resources available to ensure major developments have the infrastructure they need to go ahead.
  • An increase in the building target of the Homes and Communities Agency by a further 100,000 houses nationally

Measures To Enable Private Investment In Capital And Infrastructure

  • The introduction of a new £1bn “when it’s gone, it’s gone” capital allowance scheme for the 2013/14 and 2014/15 financial years to incentivise businesses to commit to major capital investment.
  • Incentivising private investment in public infrastructure by reducing risk and providing the certainty of returns that investors require
  • Establishing a government-backed Infrastructure Investment Bank or “Reverse Sovereign Wealth Fund” that allows institutional investors to invest in projects indirectly and at a guaranteed rate of return.

Whilst the Chamber recognises that the Chancellor has very little room to manoeuvre within the current spending envelope, it believes that under-spending from other Government initiatives – such as the £108m under-spend from previous rounds of the Regional Growth Fund – could be re-allocated to fund the measures it is proposing.

George Cowcher, Chief Executive, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce: “The Chancellor has a tricky balancing act to perform with his Autumn Statement this year, in that he needs to make some tough decisions to prioritise growth, without them having an adverse effect on the Government's ongoing deficit reduction programme, which is a crucial element of the economic recovery.

“Recent Chamber research found that some 80% of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire firms have plans to grow over the next 12 months and many Chamber members have been looking for ways to grow, export to new markets and take on more staff, even in spite of weak domestic growth and the ongoing crisis in the eurozone.

“Whilst recent, positive announcements regarding GDP, unemployment and retail sales are welcome, the Government still has work to do to ensure that the economic recovery is sustainable over the long-term.

“Ministers have made some encouraging noises recently about the Government’s long-term plans for business growth, we are still not seeing enough urgency in tackling some of the issues facing businesses.

“In order to kick-start economic growth and encourage job creation, the Government must introduce more growth-enhancing policies in the Autumn Statement in the key areas highlighted by the Chamber.”

A copy of the Chamber's Autumn Statement submission to Treasury can be viewed here.

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