Dorset Chamber – Budget preview comment

Ian Girling, chief executive of Dorset Chamber, said: “The clock is ticking for the Chancellor.

“This Budget may be the last opportunity for him to outline the sustainable growth plan businesses in Dorset are crying out for before the general election.

“While he may be a safer pair of hands at the wheel of the economy than some of his predecessors, he still has a great deal to do.

“A business friendly budget with cast-iron measures to help firms navigate the continued choppy economic waters and grow in the future is absolutely crucial.

“This means fundamental reform of business rates to make it a tax that incentivises growth and a restart of the VAT registration review to remove the shackles from ambitious companies.

“Furthermore, a lowering of the VAT rate for the hospitality sector would go a long way to help boost consumer spending and improve cashflow for the many restaurants, pubs, hotels and leisure facilities in Dorset.

“Dorset would also benefit from the introduction of a new internationally competitive tax-free shopping scheme to help turbocharge the UK’s retail and hospitality sectors. The Government must signal that the UK is open for business.

“Greater investment in skills training and development is vital to help businesses attract, retain and develop the right people as well as improve productivity and drive growth.

“I would like to see the Chancellor make a commitment to continue with the business led Dorset Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP), and others LSIPs nationwide, beyond the current 2025 cut off point to build on the significant progress made so far.

“Cuts to income tax or more changes to national insurance will make the headlines if the Chancellor seeks to pull a rabbit out of his hat ahead of the election but greater funding for business support and growth may be more welcome in many quarters.”

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