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East Midlands Chamber News

Chancellor’s business-positive address to Conference could be a clue to Budget


The Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon Philip Hammond, has used his address at the Conservative Party Conference today to set out an agenda for business and investment, which has been broadly welcomed by East Midlands Chamber.


It includes more money for apprenticeships, funding for upskilling and retraining existing staff, additional financial support for businesses and £2m for the Midlands Engine to carry out a study to make sure the opportunity presented by development alongside HS2 around Toton is maximised.


Scott Knowles, Chief Executive at East Midlands Chamber*, which has for some time been calling on Government to ‘back a winner’ and give at least parity to investment in the East Midlands, said: “The Chamber has described the past few Budgets as missed opportunities as far as business is concerned.


“From mending the broken business rates system to recognising the contribution the East Midlands makes to the national economy by giving us at least national parity when it comes to infrastructure investment and ensuring the UK economy is robust enough to withstand the rigours of Brexit, there has been little in the past few years to cheer business.


“The Apprenticeship Levy has done the exact opposite of what it was meant to do and has led to a decline in the number of apprenticeships starting because particularly small employers don’t understand it. Anything that reverses the decline has to be welcomed.


“Today, I think Mr Hammond has given us a flavour of what we can expect in the Budget later this month – officially his last before Brexit - which is greater support for the creators of wealth and jobs across this country.


“Development around the HS2 station at Toton represents a huge opportunity that will positively impact the whole of the East Midlands. The £2m investment promised today into a feasibility study should ensure we maximise the opportunities around Toton and the wider HS2 project in this region and into South Yorkshire.”