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East Midlands Chamber News

Chamber reaction to today’s Budget

Reacting to today’s Budget, Chris Hobson, Director of Policy at the Chamber, said it held “no game-changers” but “a number of smaller announcements that will please some people”.

Chris HobsonHe said: “It was good to see that the rising cost of Business Rates will be slowed from next year with the switch from Retail Price Index to Consumer Price Index measures brought forward two years and the promise of three-yearly reviews instead of five, so the impact of revaluations will be less.

“The switch to CPI is something the Chamber had called for, but we think Mr Hammond could have gone further to reduce the upfront costs businesses face.

“It was interesting to see that the areas that have moved forward with devolution plans and have, or will have, elected mayors are starting to reap rewards. That doesn’t apply to the East Midlands and should serve to focus the discussions of politicians across the region.

“The devil will be in the detail when it comes to moves to make houses more affordable. Past Budgets have talked about building more houses. This Budget talked about an additional 300,000 new houses and other moves to nudge the market when it comes to sales at the lower end of the ladder, such as the abolition of Stamp Duty for first-time buyers on properties worth up to £300,000, but we’ll have to see if that will be enough to stimulate the market.

“The new focus on retraining towards digital for older employees is welcome, but do the measures announced go far enough? It was also interesting to hear that there are plans for a new national centre for computing – this could be an opportunity for the East Midlands.

“All in all, this Budget was something of a missed opportunity for the Government to invest meaningfully in those areas that will support the wealth creators of the UK, large and small - investment we need if we are to unharness the full potential of our businesses and investment which should not be viewed as a cost as it will repay itself many times over the longer term.”