Lack of business focus in Budget says Sheffield Chamber president

David Thurkettle, Sheffield Chamber president
David Thurkettle, Sheffield Chamber president
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A stronger focus on business would have been welcome in the Budget, according to David Thurkettle, president of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and a director at accountants PwC.

But news that apprentice numbers in the UK had doubled was welcomed, as was the claim that more jobs were created in Yorkshire than the whole of France this year.

He said: “It felt like a Budget of two halves – recognising short-term electoral horizons and long-term economic needs.

“I was heartened somewhat by the Chancellor’s repeated references to ‘a truly national recovery’, in particular his view that the Northern Powerhouses should be working ‘across party lines and in partnerships with councils’.

“This very much mirrors my own outlook - we must move past the box-ticking type approach that has failed in the past. Developments like the Advanced Manufacturing Park and the Olympic Legacy Park are helping to create jobs and entrepreneurs and, as a result, will be behind, and drive forward, our future economy.

“The Chamber welcomes mention of proposals to double support for British exporters with links to China – although I look forward to seeing more details about what this will actually entail in due course – while the decision to again freeze fuel duty is good news for the region’s logistics sector, as well as motorists in general.

“The increase in personal tax allowances to £10,800, with a further increase in the following fiscal year to £11,000, is good news but it’s disappointing that the simplification tax, and increases in national insurance thresholds have not been addressed at the same time. I’d argue for an increase in the low thresholds at which individuals and their employers pay National Insurance to really deliver results for businesses. This would do far more to help the lowest-paid staff - and support continued job creation by their employers.

“Abolishing National Insurance for young people from this April, meanwhile, will encourage more businesses to hire by reducing the costs of employment and additional training.

“The announcement on changes to the Enterprise Investment Scheme and Venture Capital Trusts are very appealing, will support emerging businesses and fit in well with what we are trying to do with our Big Investment Project.

“Finally, while a wide-ranging review of business rates is a positive move, to really secure investment and growth, we believe this must lead to root and branch reform of business rates for the next full Budget in 2016.”