Spring 2022 statement: West Midlands business leaders present their wish list

The introduction of an energy price cap for businesses and a postponement of the planned National Insurance increase are just two of the pressing issues on the wish list of the West’s business spring statement. Midlands.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is due to address Parliament and the nation tomorrow with his Spring 2022 statement with a reduction in fuel taxes and an increase in state pension among the topics already discussed in the media.

Here, West Midlands business leaders have outlined what they would like to see.

A survey by Lloyds Bank says businesses in the region are asking the chancellor to announce new measures to help deal with rising costs.

As inflation hits the highest levels since 1992, more than a third (36%) of businesses said direct help with energy bills and rising costs was high on their wish list.

This was closely followed by calls for a reduction in VAT, cited by 31%, while funding for training and skills development topped the list for 15% of respondents.



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Three in ten respondents (30 percent) said they feared having to increase the cost of goods and services and more than a quarter (27 percent) said inflation reduced profitability.

Dave Atkinson, regional manager for the West Midlands at Lloyds Bank, said: “Rising prices pose multiple challenges for businesses in the West Midlands and inflation pressure shows no signs of abating in the near term.

“We will continue to play our part during this difficult time, but businesses now want the Chancellor’s support to help cover the running costs of their operations so they can continue to drive the region’s economic recovery.”

Chancellor must use spring statement to help businesses cope with unprecedented cost pressures, says Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce.

The trade body has released a six-point plan it would like to see Rishi Sunak outline in a bid to help businesses cope with soaring costs.

It calls for the following actions:

– Introduce an energy price cap for businesses

– Provide SMEs with energy subsidies

– Introduce additional support for energy efficiency

– Delay planned National Insurance hikes for a year

– Pursue the reform of corporate pricing

– Extend the VAT reduction for hotel companies

Policy chief Raj Kandola said: “Often seen as a minor fiscal event compared to the autumn budget, the crisis in Ukraine coupled with the escalating cost of living crisis means that the importance of the spring statement has been elevated to a whole new level.

“While the Chancellor has been preaching the importance of fiscal rectitude over the past few months, the ongoing fallout from covid-19, soaring inflation and sky-high energy bills mean businesses are facing tough challenges. unprecedented cost pressures.

“At this time, we need the government to act decisively and tackle these issues head-on – implementing our six-point plan would give businesses the breathing space they need to get back on their feet and plan with a modicum of certainty.”

Real estate agency JLL states that “intervention is clearly needed” in the spring statement to address rising energy costs impacting businesses.

The head of its Midlands operations, Stuart Smith, said: “A prolonged period of inflation, combined with increased borrowing costs, will almost certainly reduce the ability of developers and occupiers to make critical investments in renovation. of their buildings to meet better environmental performance standards.

“Our research points to a significant task for Birmingham to meet its 2030 net zero target, which will become all the more difficult if businesses are forced to pull out so soon after a post-Covid recovery period.”

Business leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire joined calls for the Chancellor to take decisive action in his spring statement to help tackle the escalating cost of doing business.

Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce backed the UK Chambers of Commerce’s five-point plan which would help support businesses through the crisis.

It includes a one-year postponement of the impending National Insurance hike to give businesses much-needed financial leeway to cope with soaring costs.

The plan also includes a temporary energy price cap for small businesses to protect them from some of the price increases they would otherwise face, providing the same protection as households.

The BCC calls for additional financial support, through the expansion of the energy bill reimbursement program for households to also include small businesses and energy-intensive businesses, a new support fund, administered by Ofgem to support smaller businesses with rising energy bills and a six month extension of the Recovery Loan Scheme until the end of this year.

The plan calls for a moratorium, for the duration of this parliament, on all policy measures that increase business costs.

He also wants the government’s supply chain advisory group and industry task force to commit to continuing to work with industry to urgently provide practical solutions to mitigate supply chain disruptions. supply and labor shortages that continue to put upward pressure on prices.

Sean Rose, head of policy at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The cost of doing business continues to rise and businesses need decisive action in next week’s Spring Statement for help get through this time.

“It is essential that businesses have the confidence to invest and grow after two years of covid-19 restrictions that have stifled economic growth. This is why we support the BCC’s five-point plan.”