Business boss in Northamptonshire welcomes the Autumn Statement

George Osborne during a visit to Northampton.
George Osborne during a visit to Northampton.

A business leader had welcomed George Osborne’s Autumn Statement, hailing it as “positive news” for companies in Northamptonshire

The Chancellor of the Exchequer promised a “recovery for all” as he announced a boost for jobless youngsters seeking work.

He revealed he was scrapping employers’ national insurance contributions for the under 21s.

Responding to the statement, Jo Lappin, CEO of Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership, said: “Overall we believe that the statement contains positive news for our Northamptonshire businesses and people.

“We certainly welcome the increased growth predictions to both this year’s output and for 2014, with our ambition locally being to deliver annual growth at one per cent a year over and above this, reflecting our strong performance to date.

“We particularly welcome the new measures announced to support apprenticeships, and abolish National Insurance for 18 to 21s, which will boost the jobs market for young people in the county and make it easier for businesses to employ them.”

She added: “In Northamptonshire, we are the second-highest national performer on the proportion of people employed in export-intensive industries, so really do understand the importance of working with international markets.

“We are already working on a number of trade initiatives, including work with China to boost trade locally, so it was good to see the pledged doubling of UK export finance to support British businesses.

“Northamptonshire offers unrivalled business support to companies and it was particularly encouraging therefore to hear the Government’s plans to expand start-up loans to help entrepreneurs start their own businesses.

“We have one of the strongest logistics hubs in the country and the freeze on fuel duty is great news not only for this thriving sector, but also for the many smaller companies who rely on a van or car. The decision on rail fares is also welcomed as we recognise the importance of this to those who commute in and out of our economy.

“Northamptonshire has committed to significant housing growth and the decision on the new infrastructure fund to unlock housing sites, together with the funding available for new affordable homes is very welcome.”

“The Chancellor stated that ‘Britain is moving again’ and we believe that Northamptonshire has and will continue to play an increasingly important role in that recovery.”