Budget 2013: Firms urge chancellor to fuel growth
With the economy still struggling to recover from the double-dip recession, the pressure is on George Osborne to deliver a business friendly budget later today.
Business leaders in the West have called on the Chancellor to pull out all the stops to get the ailing economy back on track as quickly as possible.
The annual leaks in the press have pointed to extra help for working families with young children and also the likely axing of a planned increase in fuel duty.
But according to commentators from industry and commerce the real effort should be focussed on helping the economy and in particular smaller businesses.
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Peter Marchbank is chief executive of Third Dimension in Bristol, a precision measuring specialists which has grown by 40 per cent in the past year.
He said: “The Government has a vision for manufacturing, but without action, this is just dreaming.
“This particularly applies to skills where we are battling to find the right mix, along with many other small engineering companies. That’s what I would like the Chancellor to focus on.”
Matthew Lee off accountancy firm Bishop Fleming, said: “George Osborne is in a cleft-stick: he has nailed his colours to an austerity mast, but he still has the scope to make a real difference for businesses in the South West..
“I would urge him to consider affordable measures that will make a real difference to the ability of businesses in the South West to deliver new jobs and boost the economy”.
The Forum of Private Business, which represents hundreds of small firms in the Bristol area, has called on decisive action from the Chancellor.
“This is a defining week for the Chancellor,” said its head of policy, Alex Jackman.
“Budgets are never an event to fly under the radar but this one is significant.
“Business rates and fuel head the list of businesses biggest costs and some longer term certainty – rather than incremental postponements – over both of those would help enormously.
“We would love to see the Government get serious on fuel duty, not with just another postponement, but an outright cut to put money back in to the pocket of consumers.
“We know the vast majority of small businesses would also welcome with open arms some form of fuel stabiliser.”
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is calling for help for the construction centre.
Luay Al-Khatib, the RICS director for the Bristol area, said: “RICS is urging the government to increase finance liquidity for construction firms, home-buyers and small businesses.
“Every pound invested in construction provides around £2.80 of benefits to the wider economy, and if the UK is to work its way out of the economic slump, ongoing investment in construction will be crucial.”