Suffolk: Chamber president calls for Budget action on business rates and investment

SUFFOLK Chamber of Commerce has urged Chancellor George Osborne to deliver “a Budget for business”, which allows firms to drive growth, invest and create jobs.

Chamber President Peter Funnell said Mr Osborne should stick to “Plan A” in terms of his overall strategy in his statement next week but use the oppor”tunity to bring forward ”substantive changes that will stave off stagnation and weak growth”.

“Next week’s Budget is a great opportunity for the Government to really make clear its intention to back business,” said Dr Funnell. “With Chambers across the UK we are calling for specific measures that if put into place would have a real and lasting impact on hard working companies.”

Suffolk Chamber is calling for the Government to:

: : Scrap next month’s scheduled 5.6% rise in business rates, which it says will severely aggravate already uncertain business cash flow and impose hefty new costs without offering any real improvement in business conditions;

: : Introduce a time-limited �1billion capital allowance scheme for medium-sized companies, providing a two-year window for medium-sized businesses to make crucial investments; and

: : Incentivise employers to take on young people by doubling the amount of money available for employer wage subsidies and funded placements under the new Youth Contract (from �1bn to �2bn), or consider changes to employer National Insurance Contributions for young people.

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“Business has made clear that it requires targeted support in 2012 and by addressing issues such as business rates, a real difference can be made,” said Dr Funnell. “Medium sized companies need assistance and more needs to be done to incentivise employers to take on young people.

“We know that here in Suffolk we have hundreds of businesses that want to take on young people but the system often makes that more difficult than it needs to be. The volume of young people not in employment, education or training is a major issue and one we need to address collaboratively and with focused interventions.

“We work in partnership for example with University Campus Suffolk to deliver a Foundation Degree for the business leaders of tomorrow. For that to continue and to go from strength to strength employers need more targeted support from Government,” he added.