Chamber describes mini budget as a ‘bold step forward’

The series of tax cuts and economic measures announced by Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng today (Friday, September 23) in his mini budget has been described as a “bold step forward” by the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce.

It is the biggest tax-cutting event since 1972 with the basic rate of income tax being cut to 19p and the 45% top rate of tax for higher earners abolished.

In a statement released by the chamber this afternoon it said: “This is a bold step forward in what nonetheless must be a sustained longer-term rolling programme of pro-business reforms by the government in order to have the desired impact on growth and productivity.”

They said its members will welcome both the reversal of the increase in employers’ NI contributions and the scrapping of the planned increase in Corporation Tax and added: “These policy shifts are big lobbying wins for this chamber and indeed the whole chamber network.

“The reduction in the basic rate of Income Tax and the abolition of the 45% top rate should, hopefully, mean consumers have more money to spend, although inevitably some of this will be used to pay off existing debts.

“We have already backed the Energy Bill Relief Scheme announced earlier in the week to partially protect businesses from spiralling energy price rises. But as with the package of tax cuts, we need to see a longer-term package to secure national energy generation and supply.”

And it continued: “However, tax cuts in themselves are unlikely to transform our economy into one that is characterised by high skills, wages and productivity. We need a redoubled national programme of capital investment to achieve a generational shift in our core infrastructure: road, rail and mobile. A purposeful programme of infrastructure upgrades will be like a magnet in drawing the skills base of Suffolk in an upwards direction, including through the Suffolk & Norfolk Local Skills Improvement Plan which is being run by Suffolk and Norfolk Chambers of Commerce.

“Suffolk has the pivotal role in unlocking this country’s true potential. It is vital now that the government invests in upgrades at Ely and Haughley rail junctions, improves the whole of the A14 in the county – and not just one or two junctions and ensures that we are at the front of the queue in terms of 5G infrastructure.

“Because of our strengths in growing sectors such as renewable energy, transport and logistics and the land-based sector, Suffolk businesses in particular need to be given the tools to properly do our job of fuelling, moving and feeding the national economy.

“To that end, we broadly support the emerging principles behind the Investment Zones and are now working through what they might mean for Suffolk with our public sector partners.”

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