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Go for growth Chancellor

By Frank McKenna

By Frank McKenna

Frank McKenna urges the Chancellor to use his £30 Billion windfall to support business and the economy, and go for growth, when he delivers his budget next month.

We discovered this week that Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has £30 Billion more to play with than he thought of, as he decides what to do to get the UK economy moving again in his budget next month.

There are signals that the windfall may be used to offer public sector workers a 5% increase. Others have suggested that more money will be spent on Defence and the NHS. The hike on fuel duty, feared from every Chancellor at every budget, is unlikely to go ahead.

However, thus far at least, little has been discussed about a growth plan for the economy. Measures that will boost business, investment, and encourage enterprise.

The promise of less red tape and bureaucracy promised by Brexiters is yet to materialise. Perhaps we can see some progress in this area from Hunt?

A new arrangement with the EU around the Northern Ireland protocol could offer the opportunity for our importers and exporters to start doing business more efficiently and effectively again.

The 99-year review and promised reform of business rates could be delivered. And an indication at an intention to look at VAT rates, particularly for the hospitality sector, would offer that much beleaguered sector some hope.  

It appears that the Chancellor has, rightly, ignored the HS2 doomsters and that the project will go ahead. But we must invest much more in infrastructure projects.

However, in the immediate term, the one thing that Jeremy Hunt can do to help business is reverse the decision to increase corporation tax from 19p to 26p. That is an eye-watering hike at the best of times. At a time when businesses are struggling with wage inflation, high energy prices, and a whole host of other costs, it is beyond daft.

Despite the obvious challenges we know he faces given the mess he inherited from his predecessor, Hunt must demonstrate that he is more than a man who can settle the nerves of the financial markets. He needs to show some ambition, support business, and go for growth.

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