Rishi Sunak said to create the Plymouth region’s ‘powerhouse’ in today’s mini budget

Businesses in the South West are calling on the Chancellor to announce new measures to help tackle rising costs of goods and services ahead of his spring statement. Rishi Sunak will unveil his “mini budget” today (Wednesday, March 23).

He will outline tax changes and financial support programs, while updating the country on the state of the economy. As inflation hits the highest levels seen since 1992, more than half (54%) of businesses in the South West are asking Mr Sunak for help in easing the cost burden, according to a new study.

Businesses are asking for direct help with energy bills as well as reduced VAT and funding to help create new jobs and develop skills. Rising prices remain a major challenge for businesses in the region, according to a Lloyds Bank report.

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More than a fifth (22%) of businesses worry about having to increase the cost of goods and services, while a quarter (24%) say inflation is reducing profitability. Amanda Dorel, Regional Director of Lloyds Bank in the South West, said: “It is essential that businesses receive adequate support in the face of the rising cost of day-to-day operations so that they can achieve their post growth plans. -pandemic.

It’s what South West businesses have told us is on their wish lists.

Devon and Plymouth Room



Stuart Elford, Managing Director, Devon and Plymouth Chamber of Commerce.

Stuart Elford, chief executive of Devon and Plymouth Chamber, said: “The government needs to improve infrastructure here in the South West if our region is to realize its full potential… The Chancellor will need to take action to cope with rising costs life, as well as an update on inflation which is expected to increase further in the coming months.

“British businesses and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) have highlighted concerns about the cost of doing business for many months. The current energy crisis is also having a significant impact on consumers and businesses who are facing a prolonged period of rising Skyrocketing Businesses have been hit by steep increases in their energy bills, with further increases likely as existing fixed-rate contracts expire in the coming months.

“In addition to existing cost pressures and humanitarian impact, the Russian invasion of Ukraine risks causing a significant shock to the global economy by weakening global demand, increasing inflationary pressures, damaging international financial markets and negatively impacting the UK and local economies.”

Mr Elford said the South West would not be able to attract the kind of private sector investment until connectivity, both physical and digital, was improved. He added: “Recognizing the South West as a powerhouse leading the blue/green economy and the government putting money into it would help to truly level the regional economy and start the journey to the region realizing its potential. .”

JLL, Bristol and Plymouth

Simon Peacock, South West Region Manager for JLL, said: “The Spring Statement is still being touted as a refinement rather than a revolution, but intervention is clearly needed to address the rising costs of the industry. energy that impacts business.

“A prolonged period of inflation, combined with increased borrowing costs, will almost certainly reduce the ability of developers and occupiers to make critical investments in retrofitting their buildings to meet better environmental performance standards. Our research indicate a significant task for cities like Bristol and Exeter to meet their net zero targets for 2030, which will become all the more difficult if businesses are forced to retreat so soon after a period of post-Covid recovery.”

South West Business Council

Tim Jones of the South West Business Council, said: ‘It seems clear the Chancellor is going to have to update his spring statement to become a mini budget. The obvious priorities for us are:

  • The cost of the trip. We are extremely disadvantaged due to our reliance on the automobile and the linear nature of the Southwest economy.
  • Energy costs. Very much a repeat of what has been a mainstay of popular press recently. How can we protect our most vulnerable communities from a further worsening of their fuel poverty?
  • Energy costs for businesses. The impact, particularly for energy-intensive businesses and tourism/hospitality/leisure, further impacts the recovery of this and other vulnerable sectors.
  • A temporary VAT adjustment would be an appropriate intervention.
  • A temporary reduction in professional rates idem.
  • Local government capital spending adjustments could, if unleashed, stimulate activity in the housing sector.
  • Adjustments to capital adequacy ratios for insurance companies and pension funds could free up around £200bn of potential investment in infrastructure and other capital projects
  • Recognize that public transport (rail, bus and air) will need short-term support.”

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Cornish Chamber of Commerce

Kim Conchie, chief executive of the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, said: “Businesses are facing a lot of headwinds. Banks are now forecasting double-digit inflation, so energy prices – that would be the only area who would reassure businesses if there was some national trade energy policy with a cap and subsidy and safeguards in place now and a long term plan on renewables, self-sufficiency, nuclear and investment in sectors that would create their own leveling up effect for Cornwall, such as floating offshore wind, onshore wind, solar, geothermal, lithium mining for electric batteries.

“Abolish import tariffs and delays on components from EU countries that companies need here. of VAT for hotel businesses until the end of the war in Ukraine and Covid.

“Reward and incentivize productivity so businesses can learn to produce more value with fewer people – grants for investment in AI and robotics, as well as business leadership courses, management courses time, skill development. [The chancellor needs to offer] incentives for young people to stay in Cornwall to pursue their careers here as well as quality housing and grants for the kinds of workers we need in the right place at the right price.

He added: “Hurry up and get the leveling points clear on investing in sustainable rural transport.”

MHA South West

Chris Barlow, Partner at MHA, said: “The UK manufacturing sector urgently needs more long-term incentives to stimulate investment. Spring reporting must be the time to kick off the process, as a series of damaging tax changes are heading towards businesses right now.

“Some will take effect in April, such as the Social Security hike, while others are scheduled for March 2023, such as the corporate tax hike. In addition, the sector continues to be hit hard by ongoing supply chain issues, compounded by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Mr Barlow said suspending the National Insurance hike was ‘the most urgent step’ the Chancellor needed to take.
He added: “It is essential to ensure that funds are invested in factories, machinery and buildings, which in turn will preserve and create jobs.

However, Rishi Sunak must also go further. He is expected to announce long-term incentives to help manufacturing companies invest and plan for the future. One way for him to do this would be to extend the super-deduction to allow for longer-term planning.

“Long-term relief is also badly needed for businesses to pursue decarbonisation and net-zero programs, especially as the UK commits to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Expanding tax incentives for energy-efficient assets is crucial, especially for SMEs that typically struggle to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to reducing emissions.”

JM Holdings Group, South West

Murray Ambler-Shattock, head of strategic operations, research and innovation development, said: “A windfall tax on ‘big energy companies’ on the massive profits made at the expense of the beleaguered British public, who currently can barely afford to heat and light their homes and for businesses that struggle to afford to produce and distribute their offerings.

“Strict measures to regulate fuel retail pricing behavior. Financial recovery actions against Covid measures loan fraudsters and against parties involved in unsuitable PPE that cost and waste billions of dollars from Taxpayers Road fund license fees have been replaced with a tax on fuel and energy purchase recharging instead of a tax on fixed costs per vehicle Recover furlough money from any company that has made substantial benefits during the pandemic but still asked for time off because she clearly didn’t need it.

“Move the Red Diesel Rebate being abolished onto green fuels such as HVO. Abolish IR35 and make it easy for businesses and organizations to hire the necessary skills and experience they need to grow and their development Provide Innovation Loans to businesses to develop new approaches to problems and advance Innovation Second and/or vacation homes must be purchased as an operated business through a public limited company and leased to third parties for at least 50% of the year.”

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