Businesses across the Midlands have been warned further tough times lie ahead – with rising fuel and VAT prices set to add to boardroom burdens.
Jerry Blackett, chief executive of Birmingham and Solihull Chamber, says many businesses are still facing a fight for survival as the fallout from the recession continues.
Mr Blackett said: “In April we saw inflation rise to a 17-month high of 3.7 per cent, driven by rising food costs and Budget duty hikes.
“Prospects for the immediate future are not good, as petrol prices have soared to record levels, and VAT is expected to rise to 20 per cent. Rising fuel prices will have an adverse impact on most businesses and with the VAT rise, trading conditions will get even harder.”
Mr Blackett said the Chamber hoped the new coalition Government would step in to help – while he pledged that BCI would do all in its power to press for Downing Street assistance.
Mr Blackett will raise his concerns before an audience of Solihull businessmen and women on June 11 at the Arden Hotel, Bickenhill.
He plans to spell out the Chamber’s opposition to some of the cuts already announced by the coalition, including the threat to trim the bill for regional development agencies by £270 million.
The Chamber is also keeping up its efforts to get the coalition to scrap Labour’s planned rise in National Insurance contributions.
Mr Blackett is also due to address the meeting on the latest developments in transportation which will affect the locality.
This will include the proposed High Speed 2 rail line, which would boost the West Midlands metropolitan area economy by an estimated £2.5 billion, and also the Chamber’s backing for the scrapping of the third runway project at Heathrow Airport.
“Scrapping proposals for new developments in the South East, together with a desire to utilise existing and underused assets will mean a more equitable solution for the country as a whole.”