Budget labelled ‘steady and workmanlike’ by Northants Chamber of Commerce chief executive

Chief executive of Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce, Paul Griffiths

Chief executive of Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce, Paul Griffiths

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The Chancellor produced a “steady, workmanlike” Budget that listened to the demands of businesses, according to the chief executive of Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce.

Paul Griffiths welcomed yesterday’s announcements by George Osborne relating to business taxes and fuel duty.

Mr Griffiths said: “Business wanted a steady, workmanlike Budget, and that’s what we got. The Chancellor listened to our calls to avoid higher business taxes and costs – and indeed moved to lower them in a number of areas.

“He has finally taken real action to lessen the crushing burden of business rates and sharpened incentives for entrepreneurship and investment.

“While his commitments to key business infrastructure projects are positive, the Chancellor must ensure that they move from the drawing board to speedy construction on the ground,” he added.

“In a softening economy, the combination of sustained infrastructure investment and lower business taxes is important to maintaining the confidence of firms across the country.”

Commenting on additional measures announced in the Spending Review, Paul Griffiths said he was relieved the Chancellor did not raise fuel duty.

“In our pre-budget press release a firm operating in the logistics sector stated that even a 1p rise in fuel duty would hit them financially to the tune of £500,000 over the course of the financial year,” he added.

“This was based on their annual fuel consumption totalling around 5.5million litres over the same timeframe.”

Mr Griffiths also welcomed the announcements concerning the Midlands Engine.

“Businesses and other interested bodies will welcome the Chancellor’s commitment to the Midlands Engine, this is evidenced by a £250million fund, to be used primarily to invest in small businesses across the region.

“This is further emphasised by the Chancellor when he says “this budget pushes forward the Government’s vision of the Midlands Engine for growth”.

“In addition, Midlands Connect, an initiative to improve the regions infrastructure has also been given a boost with further improvements in the M1 – a major artery for commuters and businesses throughout the region – given the green light.”