Northamptonshire business leader’s reaction to the Autumn Statement

Paul Griffiths of Northamptonshire Chamber
Paul Griffiths of Northamptonshire Chamber

Northamptonshire Chamber has welcomed some of the measures announced by the chancellor in his Autumn Statement.

George Osborne outlined his future tax and spending plans in the House of Commons today (Wednesday, December 3).

The key measures include a change to stamp duty, a 25 per cent “diverted profits” tax aimed at multinational companies, the abolition next year of Air Passenger Duty for children under 12, and for under-16s from the following year, VAT for hospices and air ambulances will be refunded and fuel duty will be frozen.

Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Chancellor of the Exchequer’s final Autumn Statement before the 2015 General Election goes some way into addressing the concerns of businesses and improving the conditions for growth.

“In delivering his statement on the Government’s future spending plans, the Rt Hon George Osborne announced more help for small businesses by doubling business rates relief for a further year, and an inflation-linked increase in business rates capped at two per cent.

“This is positive news, however, we need a solid commitment from the Government for a full review of the out-of-date business rates system, something which the British Chambers has long campaigned for.

“It was also good to hear the Government extend its Funding for Lending Scheme to increase bank lending to firms for another year, maintain the cut in fuel duty and a £45million package for exporters, but we need more detail about how this funding will help our international traders.

“What we need is pro-growth policies which go beyond the General Election and support the ambitions of businesses which will in turn bring wealth and prosperity to Northamptonshire.”

The Labour MP for Corby and East Northamptonshire, Andy Sawford, said: “Today’s Autumn Statement delivered very little for people across Corby and East Northamptonshire. I wanted to see an increase in the minimum wage, expansion of free childcare, action on abusive zero hours contracts, a lower 10p starting rate of tax and an end to privatisation of the NHS. Instead we got the revelation that because wages have fallen, tax receipts are down, borrowing is going up and there are more cuts to come.”