Business body blasts 'missed opportunity' for Chancellor to ease stresses for Hucknall and Bulwell firms

Business body the East Midlands Chamber has criticised the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Spring Statement as a ‘missed opportunity to avert cost of doing business crisis’.
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Scott Knowles, chamber chief executive, said: “It’s clear from the Chancellor’s warning about the ‘unusually high uncertainty’ around the economic outlook – coupled with confirmation that inflation rose by 6.2 per cent in February and will hit a projected 7.4 per cent in 2022 – that businesses and communities should prepare accordingly for a continuation of the spiraling price rises over the coming year.

“Despite acknowledging these challenges, there wasn’t anything significant for firms to grasp as a potential route out of a renewed economic crisis that still lingers on the horizon.

“Small businesses will welcome a lift to the employment allowance, which should make a little room at the margins.

Scott Knowles, East Midlands Chamber chief executive, called the Spring Statement 'a missed opportunity'Scott Knowles, East Midlands Chamber chief executive, called the Spring Statement 'a missed opportunity'
Scott Knowles, East Midlands Chamber chief executive, called the Spring Statement 'a missed opportunity'

"Anything that can help in this regard is important, given that cashflow fell into negative territory for the first time in over a year for East Midlands businesses in our latest quarterly economic survey.

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“For individuals and families, the temporary fuel duty cut and raising the national insurance threshold offer a small alleviation in tackling the escalating cost of living crisis in the short term.

“But the biggest changes appear to have been put back until the autumn – when the investment gap in R&D, capital and people compared to other major economies will be addressed to support productivity growth – or even further down the line with the 2024 income tax reduction.

“With many of the pressures being international in their nature, the Chancellor only had a few levers to pull.

"However, ultimately, there were no gamechangers that will pull us away from the cost of living – and equally a cost of doing business – crisis that is happening right now.

“The Chancellor had a decision to make and despite the big rhetoric in Parliament, it was a statement that sends a message to businesses that they will just have to get on with it for the foreseeable future.

“As global and domestic headwinds mount amid spiraling inflation and the war in Ukraine, this feels like a missed opportunity and puts at risk much of the progress made so far , which has dragged the economy back on to its feet after two years of the pandemic.”