According to the CBI, Chancellor Philip Hammond has prioritised a pragmatic down payment on future productivity growth. His emphasis on R&D, housing and local infrastructure will help businesses in all corners of the UK to invest with greater confidence for the long-term during turbulent times. This will be warmly welcomed, but these measures must now be translated into action. That means tarmac, tracks and telecoms being laid and clear, deliverable timetables for major projects. Only then will they act as a catalyst for investment, jobs and growth.
“Reducing the frequency of fiscal events along with the commitment to stick with the tax roadmap will provide stability for businesses,” asserted Carolyn Fairbairn, the CBI’s director general. “Importantly, the new fiscal rules provide the Government with welcome flexibility, while remaining prudent in uncertain times.”
Fairbairn continued: “The Government is right to accept the independent Low Pay Commission’s recommendations, as firms want to see affordable rises in the minimum wage that protect the low paid and avoid damaging job prospects. Further, the Chancellor should keep a watching brief on the challenges created by higher inflation and uncertainty weighing down on near-term business investment plans.”
While positive action has been taken on transitional relief, and excluding new fibre investments, retailers and manufacturers in particular will, according to the CBI, be disappointed by the Chancellor’s limited moves to address the growing burden of business rates.