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Summer Budget is a healthy balance of politics and economics

The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne delivered an all Conservative Budget which contained a package of radical policies to eliminate the national debt and stimulate growth.

In outlining the Government’s financial plans for the coming years, we heard a number of bold measures to improve the business environment and increase productivity.

I think these announcements go some way to addressing concerns raised by the Northamptonshire business community.

Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce is pleased the Chancellor recognised our calls along with The British Chambers of Commerce, for more investment in the country’s infrastructure.

‘Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce is pleased the Chancellor recognised our calls along with The British Chambers of Commerce, for more investment in the country’s infrastructure’

His decision to commit revenue raised by Vehicle Excise Duty to the nation’s road networks will be welcomed by businesses in the logistics sector – a key driver of growth. It will also raise a cheer from businesses who have chosen to base themselves in Northamptonshire because of the county’s strong transport links, of which there are many.

Add to this the growth in e-commerce and the change in consumer shopping habits, I believe that having a first class infrastructure is a vital component in ensuring the nation develops a strong economy.

In his speech, the Chancellor announced that from January 2016 the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) will be set at £200,000. This new permanent rate will be a shot in the arm for many businesses and give them greater certainty in making those investment decisions to expand.

‘I believe that having a first class infrastructure is a vital component in ensuring the nation develops a strong economy’

However the Chancellor should go further by extending the AIA to cover premises improvements and more types of training, not just plant and machinery.

It is also disappointing to hear that larger companies have not been consulted on the move to introduce an apprenticeship levy. We don’t want to provide a disincentive to firms who are committed to recruiting fresh talent but if the Government is serious about boosting apprenticeship numbers, it needs to focus on the quality so they are more attractive to employers.

‘It is also disappointing to hear that larger companies have not been consulted on the move to introduce an apprenticeship levy’

Our member companies will also want assurances that moves to create a National Living Wage follow an evidence-based approach, and minimise impacts on smaller firms, for whom adjustment will be harder.

In conclusion, the Summer Budget provides a number of solid measures to promote growth and I applaud the Chancellor’s efforts.

However businesses will have also noted that the Chancellor is gradually pushing the burden of supporting the low paid onto them from the state as Mr Osborne continues to address the UK’s budget deficit.

It should be acknowledged that the Chancellor has delivered a Budget that has achieved a healthy balance of politics and economics which seeks to build on the UK’s recovery, whilst supporting firms in their bid to compete for orders across the globe.

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