Last week, Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered his annual tax and spend plans for the coming financial year.
The Budget, Mr Sunak’s second since taking over at Number 11 Downing Street, will see the tax burden reach its highest level since the early 1950s, but the Chancellor also pledged tax cuts for businesses – including a fifty per cent reduction in Business rates for most retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.
Jo James OBE, head of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, told the Times that if she were marking Mr Sunak’s Budget she would rate it ‘as a good effort but he could have tried harder’.
She told the Times: “Overall there were a lots of positives announced but as with most budgets, things are sometimes not as generous as they first sound.
“There were lots of giveaways and investments announced in this Budget but when you look at the finer detail many of these are not for three or four years. Businesses need help now and not in 2024 and 2025.”
She added that the business rate cut was particularly welcome but that the rates system needed a major overhaul.
“The fifty per cent cut for hospitality was good to hear and will be welcomed by an industry that was the first to close in the pandemic and last to reopen.
“But we have a very outdated business rate system and while it is a step in the right direction it hasn’t gone far enough. We need a more flexible system that can adapt to the demands of the economy.”
Ms James also said offering businesses better access to finance was ‘fine but added: “Most businesses have borrowed enough already to see them through the last 18 months and most are not in a position to borrow more.”