Regional CBI boss welcomes ‘Plan A Plus’ Autumn Statement
The CBI today gave an immediate positive reaction to the Chancellor’s autumn statement.
Richard Tunnicliffe, CBI East of England Regional Director, said despite the downgraded growth forecasts - the Office for Budgetary Responsibility is now looking at growth this year of 0.9% compared to predictions of 2.3% earlier in the year, and even lower ones of 0.7% next year - it provided an “imaginative framework” for future growth.
“This autumn statement works with the realities of today and provides an imaginative framework for UK businesses as it strives to secure growth and jobs. This is “Plan A plus” in all but name,” he said.
“The downgraded forecasts and outlook were no surprise, but the Eurozone crisis is still hanging over us. The Government’s dogged commitment to budget deficit reduction remains the only way to maintain the UK’s triple A credit rating and low interest rates on international money markets.”
The CBI particularly welcomed Chancellor George Osborne’s new emphasis on capital spending, and the measures to leverage private sector investment on infrastructure for roads and energy.
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“Equally important for jobs and growth is the recognition that the UK’s energy-intensive users need help as a result of the unilateral increases in manufacturing energy costs from the carbon floor price and electricity market reform,” he said.
Mr Tunnicliffe also welcomed Mr Osborne’s credit easing announcements to help businesses
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“The National Loan Guarantee scheme is a necessary pre-emptive strike to safeguard bank lending to small and medium-sized enterprises. With the pressure on bank balance sheets, this is practical and immediately available help,” he said.
“We are delighted that our campaign to gain support for medium-sized businesses has been heeded and we warmly welcome the Business Finance Partnership and measures to support exports.”
On UK aviation, he said something should be done as soon as possible about creating a world-class hub airport in the south east to support UK exports.
“We have ambitions to build the UK’s export capability and without a world-class hub airport in the South East to service the needs of travellers to all emerging market destinations, this cannot happen. UK businesses will be relieved that the Government has come off the fence on this issue. All options should be closely examined and an informed decision needs to be made as soon as possible,” he said.
He also praised announcements on housing and steps to reduce youth unemployment.
“Unfreezing the housing market is an important step on the confidence-building ladder. Mortgage indemnity guarantees are the best way to bridge the problem of loan-to-value ratios,” he said.
“The Youth Contract is excellent news for young people across the country. The Government has developed our idea to incentivise businesses to take on the young unemployed. This will encourage firms to take a chance on inexperienced young people and help tackle the scourge of youth unemployment.”