The best business advice, opinion, news and expertise in Greater Manchester and further afield.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Lend Us Your Ear, Mr Darling

As Chancellor Alistair Darling prepares the particulars behind his latest Budget announcement, Dr Brian Sloan, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce’s Head of Business and Economic Policy, sets out his ‘Budget Wish List’. So Alistair, if you’re listening…

• We need a credible plan to deal with the Budget deficit

“The Government needs to lay down as a matter of urgency a credible plan to deal with the Budget deficit. The nation now expects the inevitable tax rises and public sector spending cuts, but the current uncertainty over where the axe will fall and where taxes will rise is damaging business confidence and leading to lower levels of investment. Only through investment will we create wealth and jobs to sustain a recovery.”

• Abandon the 1% increase in Employers’ National Insurance Contributions

“This is a tax on jobs and this will deprive businesses in Greater Manchester of £120m a year, £3.43bn nationally, that might have been better used for investment and job creation and would make a positive contribution to addressing the budget deficit.”

• The Government should provide a short-term trade credit insurance scheme for exports

“There is evidence, particularly across the North West, that exports are driving the recovery, though not to the extent that weakened Sterling would suggest. The Government needs to provide trade credit insurance to help businesses achieve the full potential of overseas demand.”

• Commit transport expenditure to critical infrastructure developments that have been announced

“These include Northern Hub, rail electrification and active travel management on motorways. The Government also needs to commit to High Speed Rail plans when formally announced later in March.”

• Implement a discretionary relaxation of the 16-hour rule for Job Seeker’s Allowance

“This will have the longer term benefit of enabling people to support themselves through training and education to achieve a more valuable qualification that leads to more sustainable employment.”

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