John Longworth, the director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, has called on Chancellor George Osborne to give UK plc a break during these “momentous times”.“We simply cannot afford to compromise on economic performance. If we fall behind, the future could be very different for our children and grandchildren,” says John Longworth. “We need an environment that puts business first. Boosting growth in our businesses will boost the economy and let Britain lead on the international stage.”
While supporting Osborne’s deficit reduction plans, Longworth would like to see him take other measures to combat potential stagnation, within the existing spending envelope.
In particular, Longworth would like to see the reversal of the “punishing” 5.6 per cent rise in business rates due in April 2012, and a reduction in employer National Insurance contributions.
“Politicians have shown a level of resolve and determination to help business succeed this year. But they have been nowhere near radical enough and have not been able to tackle the culture that deems business and wealth creation as negative,” Longworth says, adding that facilitating the flow of credit, improving the planning system, and overhauling the infrastructure and skills system would all help tackle the barriers to business expansion.
He concludes: “2012 could provide the tipping point for our economy. Not just because the next year is the nadir of a crisis, but because it provides an opportunity for lasting change. It could be a new start to an exciting future, the beginning of a renaissance in our fortunes based on enterprise, wealth creation and a new world view.”
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