Chancellor’s Budget must be “unashamedly pro-business”

Some of the UK’s most influential business groups are urging the Chancellor to take steps to ease the burden on firms in his upcoming Budget speech.

Philip Hammond is due to step up to the despatch box on March 8th and is under pressure to implement a package which provides sufficient support to firms.

With less than a month to go until the fiscal statement is made, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) have published submissions setting out their priorities.

Rain Newton-Smith, chief economist at the CBI, said: “In a more challenging economic environment, the Government must be careful not to put further pressure on firms.”

The organisation has called for adjustments to business rates, efforts to build on the success of R&D tax credits and assurances about the implementation of the apprenticeship levy – which has caused consternation among some senior business leaders.

In the FSB’s submission, which has also been made public, national chairman Mike Cherry said: “Spring Budget 2017 is a critical moment for the Government to show it is unashamedly pro-business, and that the Chancellor recognises that small businesses are the engines of job creation.

“Spiralling labour costs are now threatening their growth ambitions and hiring intentions.”

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