BCC appeals to Osborne for a ‘budget for business’

The British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) has urged Chancellor George Osborne to deliver a ‘budget for business’ next week, at a cost of £4.2 billion.

George Osborne
George Osborne

The lobbying group outlines three primary initiatives, at a maximum cost to the Exchequer of £4.2 billion, which it says will incentivise UK businesses and support growth.

John Longworth, director general of the BCC, comments on the proposals: “The Chancellor must stick to Plan A, but use the wiggle room he has to scrap the 5.6% business rate rise that will cripple many businesses. Firms must be incentivised to invest through a capital allowances scheme, and encouraged to take on young people. The government can do this by doubling the Youth Contract to £2 billion, or by making changes to employer National Insurance contributions.”

The BCC estimates that the cost to the Exchequer of scrapping the proposed 5.6% increase in business rates will be £2.2 billion, when combined with a restoration of the Empty Property Rate Relief (EPRR) to £18,000.

The proposed £1 billion capital allowance scheme would be aimed at medium-sized companies and provide a two-year window for these companies to invest.

“Business also wants to see reforms to employment law and the planning system significantly speeded up. Regulations must be slashed, and access to finance improved so as not to choke off recovery. Without concerted action in these areas, the potential for businesses to grow will be limited, and so will the economic recovery,” adds Longworth.

The BCC is also proposing a number “low-cost or no cost changes to the business environment” including the establishment of an SME bank and a speeded-up National Infrastructure Plan.

The BCC envisions an SME bank which would begin as a public sector initiative before being returned to the private sector.