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Suffolk Chamber initial statement on the Spring Budget:

“At an initial glance, this was a bit of a ‘meh’ budget. Why?

“Firstly, Suffolk Chamber’s members were looking for short-term assistance in addressing the impact of rising input costs and labour shortages. The extension of 30 hours of free weekly childcare for working parents to cover children under three is welcome as it may encourage more parents back into the workforce and some of the schemes to entice some over-50s may also be helpful in expanding the labour market in due course, but not straightaway. It looks as if, with the welcome exception of swimming pools, that no additional Government help for high energy use businesses is likely to be forthcoming.

“Secondly, our members have told us they’re also after a clear line of sight as to the Government’s longer-term investment and taxation programmes that they can plan against and which will ensure that Suffolk and the eastern region receive their fair share of Government capital expenditure to boost sustainable growth. Again, there would appear to be a mixture of good and not-so-good news.

“Set against the backdrop of the overall hike in Corporation Tax, we are especially pleased about the announcements on investment allowances and R&D tax credits as these should encourage businesses to bring forward their growth plans. It was also encouraging to see nuclear being classed as “environmentally sustainable”, as that will give the sector access to the same investment incentives as renewable energy. We hope that this will give an additional push to getting the final approval for Sizewell C over the line.

“On the other hand, it would appear that Suffolk, with the welcome exception of the Levelling Up Fund monies for East Suffolk, has come away with far less than we were hoping from some of the Government’s headlines initiatives. For example, none of the investment zones are to be located in the east. We will also be looking at the details underpinning the Chancellor’s speech to see if some of Suffolk’s long-term infrastructure asks, including improvements to Haughley Junction and the Copdock Interchange, have been advanced. We are disappointed that there does not appear to have been any early announcements as to future investment in these absolutely key projects.”

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Suffolk Chamber

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