03 March, 2021
Commenting on the Chancellor’s Budget statement, Chairman of the Independent Business Network, John Longworth, said:
“Sunak talks a good game, but his actions leave a lot to be desired. With the country facing its worst debt since 1709 what this country needs are radical policies for the long term, this is just a sticking plaster Budget. The Chancellor said himself in 2015: corporation tax is a tax on jobs, so why now is he increasing taxes on private sector businesses upon whose prosperity our recovery depends? As the Independent Business Network has previously made clear — we need to nurture prosperity not penalise it. The chancellor needs to cut corporation tax to foster growth.
There are other shortcomings in the Chancellor’s budget too. His ambitions for Britain to become a scientific superpower and enterprise next stage growth economy are dependent on long-term patient loan capital, ideally delivered through a Business Bank to rival the likes of those seen by our European neighbours, Asian economies and the USA. An investment bank for green infratstructure is a bank for hobbyists and falls well short of the scale and ambition the country and economy needs today. Similarly, the free ports initiative offers a flicker of the type of creative plan for growth this Budget needs more of. However, question remains — if the Freeport’s are so good then why not apply it to the entire UK?
Freeports pose the danger on drawing in much needed investment from elsewhere in the country? An enterprise economy draws investment from the whole world.
“The Budget also offers little in terms of rescuing businesses from the burden of regulation that limits their ability to take on more staff. With unemployment nearing 6 per cent its vital businesses are able to be as flexible as possible in their capacity to take on new recruits.
“Crucially, and what the Budget really lacks is a coherent strategy to boost manufacturing to solve the balance of payments crisis and improving productivity growth.
Boosting manufacturing is the most effective way to do this and the most likely to level up the economy
“This is a budget of two halves. We are also delighted that the Chancellor has taken on board the key issues the IBN has been fighting for since its launch last year. The freezing of alcohol duties, business rates, investment allowances and VAT are all measures we have fought passionately for, both in Parliament and the across the media.”