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“The Autumn Statement contains some specific good news for Suffolk in the longer-term, but also some short-term systemic concerns for the business community.

“Suffolk Chamber is pleasantly surprised by some of the headline announcements, not least as they represent significant campaign successes for us and our partners.

“The approval of Sizewell C is good news for many local SMEs and for boosting the county’s skills base. A Suffolk county deal should mean more responsive services designed to meet the needs of our members and businesses more generally.

“We are now looking forward to understanding the implications on our other lobbying asks, including upgrades to the A14 and east/west rail freight capacity especially Haughley junction and improved broadband and mobile infrastructure. We are also ready to influence the review of the Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS) to ensure that Suffolk’s businesses do not disproportionately suffer as the result of a reduction in its scope.

“However, the planned uprating of business rates, without any indication as to a wholesale review of the system, is disappointing – although we are pleased to see the shelving of the Online Sales Tax, as we raised concerns about its unintended consequences with the Treasury in the summer.

“More generally, we are unsure if other announcements by the Chancellor, including the freezing on VAT and employer National Insurance thresholds, will do much to boost business confidence in the short term. Rampant inflation and supply chain problems are causing many good businesses to draw back on their growth plans. The OBR forecast that business investment will continue to fall is in accord with our recent research and does not bode well for growth and jobs going into 2023.

“In this regard, the Autumn Statement offers little immediate reassurance to Suffolk’s business owners.”

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Suffolk Chamber

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