Mid Yorkshire Chamber reacts to Chancellor’s Spring Budget

Mar 28, 2024

Responding to chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Spring Budget, the managing director of the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, Martin Hathaway, said: “What is very welcome in today’s budget is the VAT threshold increase from £85,000 to £90,000. This change will exempt thousands of smaller businesses and the self-employed across our region from VAT payments entirely and incentivise many others to invest and expand.

“The fresh cut to National Insurance contributions will also provide welcome relief for employees, equating to around £450 a year for someone on an average salary.

“Similarly, West Yorkshire is set to benefit from the £1 billion in extra tax breaks for the creative industries over the next five years. We already have the fastest growing cultural and creative industries sector outside of London so these measures can only help us go further, faster, making the region and attractive environment for business.

“However, the chancellor could have done more for businesses to bolster the wider economy. Higher inflation and interest rates have been cited as major factors that pushed the country into a recession, and these factors have been echoed by our members over the last year. In light of this, it’s disheartening that corporation tax and employer’s National Insurance rates remain high and haven’t seen reductions. This will, unfortunately, constrain the funds available for firms to reinvest in their businesses for growth purposes.

“It was also disappointing that additional levelling up plans for West Yorkshire were absent from today’s budget, and no further measures announced to help the region’s transport infrastructure.

“Here in Yorkshire and across the north, inadequate transport links have plagued us for years, exacerbated by ongoing strike action on the region’s railways. I urge the Chancellor to prioritise transportation in our regions, bringing them in line with the capital and other global infrastructure leaders. West Yorkshire’s growth will be continue to be hindered without investment. We need a robust infrastructure, growth strategy and sufficient support and confidence from the Government to prosper.

“Research from our latest Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) report tells us that the appetite for investment and growth for businesses here in the Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield regions is there; in Q4 of 2023, 32 per cent of service sector firms in the West Yorkshire region increased their staff training investments.

“Training and upskilling is vital to get the economy moving again, something that we are committed to at the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce. We have been working with the West and North Yorkshire Chamber and local education providers to formulate the Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs) for our region, which is now funding multiple projects in our area to tackle specific skills gaps needed by local businesses.”

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