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UK business groups urge Hunt Chancellor of the Exchequer to signal investment

Ahead of Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement on November 22, the UK’s leading business groups have called for a combination of tax cuts, infrastructure improvements, and policies to address skills shortages to stimulate investment and economic growth.

While Hunt emphasized curbing inflation as his top priority, industry leaders believe there are still opportunities to improve the business environment within these constraints.

“He has options to bring about real change without spending too much money,” said Shevaun Haviland, director general of the BCC.” Businesses tell us they have billions of pounds of private investment waiting to be pumped into the UK economy.”

UK business groups urge Hunt Chancellor of the Exchequer to signal investment

With the economic outlook bleak and Hunt facing a delicate balancing act between voter-focused measures and pro-business policies, the British business community outlined their key demands:

Extend investment tax credits:

Businesses urged Hunt to make permanent the “full cost” policy, which provides 100 percent tax relief on capital expenditure. Making it permanent would increase investment by £50 billion a year and increase the size of the economy by 2% by 2030/2031.

Fixing the grid:

The BCC is calling on Hunt to accelerate grid upgrades and streamline the process of connecting new generating capacity to support the transition to net zero carbon emissions.

Alleviating skills shortages:

Manufacturing lobby group MakeUK has urged Hunt to allow more immigration for engineering jobs to fill vacancies and reform the apprenticeship levy to encourage more apprentices to join. A number of business groups have also called for tax breaks for companies providing occupational health services to keep more people in work.

Expanding help for the retail and hospitality sectors:

The Financial Stability Board (FSB) and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) want Hunt to offer retail, hospitality and leisure companies a discount on the current 75% business rates. The tax break, designed to support shopping streets, is due to expire next March.

Restore tax-free shopping for international visitors:

The BCC said Hunt should reinstate schemes that allow non-EU shoppers to reclaim VAT to encourage tourism and luxury shopping in the UK.

These measures, once implemented, will provide a much-needed boost to the UK economy and help businesses cope with current challenges.

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