Chief executive of Downtown in Business (DIB) Frank McKenna, is pressing the Chancellor to be, ‘bold’ when he addresses parliament and give a massive boost to businesses in today’s (8 July) Summer Statement.
The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak will deliver his Summer Statement to the House of Commons today with the expectation that he will disclose a range of measures designed to stimulate the economy following the catastrophic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
With Mr McKenna, chief executive of the business lobbying and membership organisation, saying that he cannot delay action until the autumn; “Sunak must act now.”
“The economy has shrunk by more than a fifth, businesses are making redundancies already with thousands of jobs lost, delaying carrying out of positive measures, that could mitigate further hits to business, would be a mistake – we don’t want jam tomorrow. Business was underwhelmed by the Prime Minister’s £5billion, so-called FDR, package last week. We need some bold action from the Chancellor to restore industry confidence. I hope we don’t see a damp squib – Sunak has got to come up with the goods.”
DIB, following extensive consultation with its membership, issued a 30-point statement called; Unlocking Enterprise & Entrepreneurship in the UK, in June. Recommendations include:
- No VAT for the hospitality industry.
- Tax breaks for businesses, together with National Insurance and pension contribution holidays.
- Rule changes around employment tribunals.
- Strengthening of the Enterprise Allowance Scheme.
- Regional Skills Commissions led by business to target unspent Apprenticeship Levy monies.
- Greater devolution, with more powers to Mayors and Combined Authorities.
“Rishi Sunak has done a good job in protecting jobs and the economy up to a point,” said Mr McKenna. “But now he must move up a gear and repair the economic damage that has been done, create new jobs, upskill our workforce and encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs. We face an explosion in unemployment. We need the Government to enable the private sector to protect and, where possible, create jobs. Tax breaks for those taking on new starters would be positive. An overhaul of employment law would also be welcome. Young people are going to be the hardest hit; therefore, we need big investment in a Future Jobs initiative and into skills and training. We would suggest that in other areas, economic development and business support, planning, transport and infrastructure, additional powers should be given to elected mayors and Combined Authorities to deliver on these crucial issues. These measures should be introduced with immediate effect. Another quarter of limbo, leaving companies in a zombie-like state, can only do further damage to the fragile confidence of British businesses.”
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