West Midlands business leaders have urged Alistair Darling to make decisions that will drive the region’s recovery and help businesses prosper in today’s pre-Budget report.
The Black Country Chamber of Commerce said it was crucial that the Chancellor stimulates demand and enterprise in the economy and that they adopt an approach to taxation policy that is predictable, fair and appropriate to the way that businesses operate.
President Peter Mathews said: “It is well known that a recovery period is a very difficult time for businesses in any industry and the lack of job security and rising levels of unemployment across the region is preventing us from overcoming the recession.
“The Government need to think carefully, before making decisions such as the proposed increase in employee, employer and self-employed rates of National Insurance Contributions by 0.5 per cent. This would be a step backwards and could jeopardise job creation.”
Mr Darling will deliver his pre-Budget report speech this afternoon.
It is expected to be the most important speech for years, as the Labour government struggles to remain in power ahead of a General Election in the next year.
Mr Mathews added: “The Government needs to develop an incentives programme that will appeal to SMEs in those areas that have been affected worse by the downturn. This programme should at he very least begin with tax relief and cancelling the planned increase in NICs from April 2011.
“In incentivising employment, the Government will be giving a clear message; they would be supporting business creation and growth, particularly in areas of extreme unemployment and deprivation.
“We are indeed in risk of a double dip recession and despite the additional money being pumped into the quantitative easing programme, money supply and bank lending is still relatively slow. Additional monetary stimulus is needed in order to increase lending and therefore boost recovery.”
> More: Join the Birmingham Post Business Desk for live coverage of the pre-budget report here.