Hampshire businesses react to the Chancellor's 'mini budget' announced today

BUSINESS leaders in Hampshire have welcomed changes in Rishi Sunak’s ‘mini budget’ but have said government must ‘continue to deliver.’

Responding to the Chancellor’s spring statement, Hampshire Chamber chief executive, Ross McNally, said: ‘Businesses are rightly concerned about the cost-of-living pressures facing their employees and the limited scope right now to respond to higher wage demands.

‘We therefore welcome the Chancellor’s efforts to make life more affordable for as many people as possible through headline measures such as the immediate 5p-a-litre cut in fuel duty, the £3,000 rise in the National Insurance threshold and his commitment to cut basic rate income tax by the end of this parliament. The household support fund and the announcement of zero VAT applying to energy efficient home improvements will also provide some much-needed mitigation for millions of people.

‘From the employer point of view, we are pleased to see his 50 per cent business rates discount for small businesses and commitment to employment and investment allowances. These all help to reduce the tax burden for business.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

‘He said there would be more help in the autumn on tax cuts for business investment decisions, so we will expect to see action on that in due course. He must do his bit to ensure we have the skills, capital and research programmes in place to enable our companies to attract world-class talent and investment in the global economy.

‘Overall, against such a difficult and challenging world backdrop, Sunak has signalled a direction of travel towards a lower tax economy which will be welcomed by many employers - but he and the government must continue to deliver.’

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And Neil Shaw, director of Portsmouth estate agency Chinneck Shaw, said: ‘Homeowners, property investors and householders were looking for any practical support to help with the cost-of-living crisis and rising inflation. For those looking to improve their properties through green investment, the announcement of zero VAT for the next five years on energy-efficient measures such as solar panels will be welcome.

‘Encouraging investment to make homes more sustainable will not only help to soften the pressure on available funds now but support the wider environmental priority of ensuring homes are greener over the longer term.’

However, John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, added: ‘Though a cut in income tax is welcome, in reality the Treasury is taking with one hand to give away with the other.

‘Cutting income tax down the line will be easily offset by the upcoming national insurance hike and freezing income tax thresholds, leaving taxpayers out of pocket overall.

‘If the government wants to give taxpayers and businesses a respite from rises, they’d do well to simply scrap the health and social care levy.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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