Chamber News 13th March 2018
Scottish Chambers of Commerce has welcomed Chancellor Philip Hammond’s “low-key” first Spring Statement, but urged that the stabilising economic fundamentals revealed by growth and borrowing figures be used as the springboard for bolder pro-business and pro-growth measures in the Autumn Budget.
The business organisation, whose combined Network represents 11,000 businesses across Scotland also welcomed the various consultations announced by the Chancellor, on issues such as late payment, the future role of cash in the economy, and on tax relief for the self-employed and employees seeking further training.
Liz Cameron OBE, Director & Chief Executive, said SCC Network would be ready to consult with businesses, and participate in the Chancellor’s announced consultation on VAT, to suggest improvements that would reduce bureaucracy for businesses crossing the VAT threshold.
On business rates, where Mr Hammond announced that the next rates revaluation would be brought forward to 2021, SCC said its priority was to minimise potential disruption to businesses paying rates on both sides of the Border.
On the unveiling of the first tranche of spending under the digital Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) Challenge Fund, SCC welcomes the £4.5m allocated to the Highlands, hailing it as “a good starter for Scotland”.
But the organisation urged more consideration of how the UK’s Industrial Strategy can help maximise the benefits, including using Scottish Chambers Network as a conduit for a “clustering approach” for businesses that helps pool benefits to the advantage of local economies.
Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce said:
“This was the low-key statement that the Chancellor promised, based on a steady but unspectacular growth outlook, and hinting at future spending, while underlining the Chancellor’s commitment to the vital role of the private sector.”
“We applaud the progress made towards stabilising the UK’s economic fundamentals, particularly the decline in borrowing forecasts, growth in productivity and expected growth in wages, alongside a forecasted decline in inflation.”
“SCC Network will play its part in ensuring that the voice of Scottish business is heard by HM Treasury as it embarks on these important consultations about the long-term future of the economy.”