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Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Chamber Reaction to Today's Budget


By Chris Fletcher - Deputy Chief Executive, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce


“On the face of it, today’s budget hits the mark on several issues that the Chamber has been lobbying for on behalf of its members. The delay and cut in fuel duty was one of the most high profile decisions and our members have been crystal clear about their opposition to another fuel increase for the last few weeks, so it is good that Government is listening to the business community.

“The potential simplification of the tax system and halt on a range of new legislation will also be welcomed. These are exactly the things to do to give businesses breathing space to take stock of the current economic situation, develop their plans and go for growth.

“The focus on new apprenticeships and especially young unemployed people is welcome as is the announcement about investment in new technical colleges. Local transport got a boost with the confirmation of funding for the next stage of work for the Northern Hub around the Ordsall Chord.

“The confirmation of a Greater Manchester Enterprise Zone will be greeted with interest. Whilst the geography of where this will be is important the major factor to its success will be what policies will be used to attract businesses to the zone and keep them there for the long term. We await further details on this.

“It was worrying to see the official growth forecast downgraded and inflation looks set to remain high which will impact on the rate of growth and recovery. As is always the case, further details will follow but the initial reaction is one that it seems to be moving in the right direction for business.”

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