The British Chambers of Commerce have welcomed the bold growth plan announced by the government.
Commenting on the Chancellor’s budget statement, Shevaun Havilland, chief executive of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “Businesses will welcome many of the measures announced today which are expected to boost economic growth, ease cost pressures and encourage investment.
“The announcement of the cancellation of the National Insurance (NIC) contribution hike is a big win for the UK Chambers of Commerce and the business community. It is much needed support for business in these difficult times. .
“Companies will also be delighted to see the annual investment allowance become permanent. It is a crucial tool that gives them the confidence to continue with their investments and will add greater certainty to their plans, now we know it is guaranteed to stay.
“Businesses want to create the wealth that funds government spending, and plans for investment zones, and measures to encourage new funding in our growing industries have the potential to do just that.
“The Investment Zones could also finally deliver on the government’s long-standing promise to upgrade, if the scheme is truly UK-wide. But lessons must be learned from the past, otherwise they can simply shift growth and investment from one region to another without creating new economic activity.
“It’s a bold start, and we are now awaiting more details on further reforms announced by the Treasury, to see if this will turn into an overall long-term economic strategy.
“All eyes will also now turn to the Office of Budget Responsibility forecast in the fall for reassurance on public finances.”
On the repeal of IR35, she added: “We welcome this decision. This will allow workers and business owners to have more flexibility, alleviate skills shortages and ultimately create a more flexible labor market.
On VAT-free shopping for overseas visitors, she said: “This is something the BCC is calling for. International inbound tourism is a vital part of the UK economy, supporting people and places, especially industries such as the hotel industry.