What does business want from the Budget?

BUDGET CALL: Ian Girling, Dorset Chamber chief executive

Dorset Chamber chief executive Ian Girling has set out what he wants to see from Chancellor Rishi Sunak in this week’s Budget.

Ian said: “The Chancellor Rishi Sunak faces a blizzard of tough decisions in this ‘bounceback’ budget.

“He needs to ensure a smooth transition from national crisis to economic recovery while restoring the public finances in the long-term.

“Clearly a cliff-edge end to government support would be disastrous for businesses as they just begin to emerge from the worst recession in 300 years.

“Some firms in Dorset would welcome an extension of the furlough scheme beyond April with a tapering until the summer to coincide with the end of Covid restrictions.

“The Chancellor has already promised to unveil a £5bn re-start scheme in the Budget to jumpstart the high street, hospitality and other sectors worst hit by the crisis.

“An extension of VAT and business rate relief in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors until the summer and perhaps beyond would also be a boost for many businesses in the county.

“The Chancellor may well also announce the successful bidders for freeport status, which would be a major shot in the arm for the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area.

“We recognise that the Chancellor cannot keep the spending taps flowing freely indefinitely but equally we do not want to see tax hikes which will place a greater burden on business and act as a drag on recovery.

“It is the wrong time for rises in corporation tax and fuel duty just as hard-hit businesses begin to stand on their own two feet.

“However, it must be recognised that UK must shoulder the burden of the unprecedented government support of the past 12 months at some stage and we may see the Chancellor set out a roadmap of his own to address this.

“Businesses in Dorset have demonstrated incredible resilience and now need a clear path forward which acts as a springboard to recovery while recognising the fiscal challenges ahead.”