Business leader backs Government’s spending review but raises concern over cuts to local authorities

Paul Griffiths, chief executive Northamptonshire Chamber
Paul Griffiths, chief executive Northamptonshire Chamber

Businesses ‘the length and breadth’ of Northamptonshire will welcome the Chancellor’s spending review, the chief executive of Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce has claimed.

Paul Griffiths, speaking today after the Autumn Statement earlier this week, said he supported the Chancellor’s strategy of supporting business to drive growth while tackling the deficit at the same time.

“Locally, businesses the length and breadth of Northamptonshire will welcome this announcement as one that addresses the some of the fundamentals such as infrastructure, security and the nation’s finances,” he said.

“With additional room for manoeuvre as a result of the Office for Budget Responsibilities’ (OBR) revised forecasts, the Chancellor has produced a budget that has given businesses reason to be optimistic about the future.

“Firms will have noted the Chancellor has shown his support for small businesses by announcing an extension of the small business rate relief for another year. A significant area where the Chancellor has delivered much-needed investment is infrastructure, critical to the economic growth of Northamptonshire and the development of local businesses – not to mention boosting productivity.

“However the Government has extended the burden of cuts to local authorities’ as a result of the continued programme of devolution. Furthermore, larger businesses will be impacted by the apprenticeship levy that is, in essence, a payroll tax – used to raise additional revenues for the exchequer. The priority here must be delivering high-quality apprenticeships, viewed positively by employers.

“Mr Osborne has delivered a budget that provides a degree of flexibility given that the OBR has forecasted the UK economy will return a surplus of £10bn by 2019/2020, but ultimately, it’s the delivery that counts as this is what the Government will be judged on,” he added.