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

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Chamber Blog: No Time Like The Present

By Chris Fletcher, Director of Policy and Communications at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce

Well it seems like April 2015 is going to be busy  if recent government announcements and the Budget are anything to go by.

It may just be me, but that particular date did seem to crop up in a lot of announcements made in the Budget last Wednesday and in various reports preceding it earlier in the week.  I know that the wheels of government turn slowly, but when we are supposed to be on an economic war footing  - a phrase that first saw the light of day in October last year – it does strain credibility that we have to wait that long.

So, then still another two years before  the main rate of corporation tax falls to 20%, the much lauded single local growth pot gets up and running, and quite a few other good sounding ideas which could have an immediate impact on the current circumstances we find ourselves in. Except we’ll have to wait.

Don’t get me wrong there were some really good ideas announced in the Budget and quite a few things taken away such as the proposed fuel duty rise in Autumn, but as we have seen again and again, especially with big infrastructure projects, the time taken to get things moving would be tantamount to commercial suicide in the private sector.

I’m a little curious as to what the Chancellor will announce in his Autumn Statement and in Budget 2014, especially if we continue to flatline when it comes to growth. By stacking up future initiatives as well as setting future tax rates as far in advance as he has done, you pretty soon start to run out of new policies to announce especially when the economy is not expansive enough to give you latitude.

So, what is left for the Autumn Statement? Well, that’s where you can come in. As the government’s options narrow, our opportunities grow. What opportunities? Ones  to come up with something different which will work and make a difference. Despite all our best efforts it still seems that  some basic stuff isn’t being taken up – business rate freeze , quicker release of approved funding to kickstart projects and grow jobs, more funding to put into employers' hands to ensure a proper demand-led skills landscape and a host of other ideas that businesses tell us about and which, to be honest, are really good ideas.

So whilst the dust hasn’t even settled on the Budget, I’m keen to find out more about what next? What should we be going back to government and demanding more(or less) of to help you create the business you want to?

We will be asking you for ideas; we want your input, we are here to help you, not in April 2015 but right here, right now.

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