Suffolk’s business leaders call for Tory Party to adopt a Plan A-plus for economy

SUFFOLK’S business leaders are calling for a ‘Plan A-plus’ for the economy as the Conservative Party Conference kicks off tomorrow (Sunday, October 2).

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce has added its voice to calls by its national body for Chancellor George Osborne to consider moving to a ‘Plan A-plus’ in his autumn statement and warned that the present sense of insecurity is not good for business.

The Director General of the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC), John Longworth, has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer calling on the Coalition Government to do more to encourage business investment.

Suffolk Chamber President Dr Peter Funnell said although the organisation supported Government spending cuts, it also needed to support growth.

“Suffolk Chamber has expressed clear and sustained support for the Government’s deficit reduction programme over the last year,” he said.

“Businesses across the county have told us that private sector confidence rests on deficit reduction and long-term stability which is something we have been communicating to our local MPs on a regular basis.

“While we remain supportive of ‘Plan A’, as it is often described, there is a need to move gradually toward a ‘Plan A-plus’, one that is capable of reallocating resources toward growth while still adhering to the overall deficit-reduction plan.”

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The Chamber’s Plan A-plus proposal includes a call for action on existing pledges to reduce red tape, and a further round of quantitative easing by the Bank of England.

It also wants to see a change in spending priorities to promote growth, investment and exports, and additional infrastructure spending, based on a comprehensive National Infrastructure Plan.

“The economy in Suffolk and across the UK remains fragile.” said Suffolk Chamber chief executive John Dugmore.

“Without the action the Chamber of Commerce is calling for, that insecurity will continue which is not good for business at all.”

“While we realise that some of the policy changes proposed in the Director Generals letter will have up-front costs, we believe that the short-term imperative of stimulating growth merits the marginal additional expenditure that they will require.” John added. “If tough decisions are made to prioritise growth, we believe the resources required to deliver our proposals can be sourced within the current spending envelope, without adverse effects on the Government’s deficit reduction programme.”

The Chamber is also calling for a 1p reduction in employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs), or an extended NICs holiday for new employees and an abolition of the 50p income tax rate.

“Many members of Suffolk Chamber tell us of their concerns regarding over-regulation,” said Dr Funnell.

“As a chamber we are calling for a complete short-term moratorium on new domestic regulation that would have a negative impact on growth and business confidence.”