Response To The Chancellor's Spring Statement
Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Chief Economist, said:
“The Chancellor is rightly backing British business to secure the UK’s future prosperity in a new economy.
“It’s great to see an upgrade in the state of our public finances and rightly sensible to set more aside for a rainy day with Brexit uncertainty still weighing on the economy.
“The global economy is going from strength-to-strength, but at the same time economic growth here at home remains lukewarm. This underlines just how vital it is to secure a Brexit that delivers for jobs and an industrial strategy that helps transform UK productivity in all corners of the country.
“Businesses and workers must move now to adapt their skill-sets to the modern economy. Upskilling existing workers and preparing young people properly for the world of work is fundamental to the technology revolution.
“The lack of flexibility in the Apprenticeship Levy is a core concern to many firms, so it was disappointing to miss this opportunity to tackle this issue head on.
“The CBI looks forward to working with the TUC and government on the National Retraining Partnership, where we aim to help develop the workforce of the future and meet the needs of local labour markets. Add in a reformed apprenticeship levy with a strong careers strategy, and the UK can finally have a skills system to be proud of.
“The UK cannot move on taxation in the digital age in isolation, so the Chancellor is spot on to work in lock-step with the international community to develop an approach that crosses borders and sectors.
“The CBI has long-called for just one Budget in a year, creating more room for Government and business to get to work. But the Spring Statement is still important, and this one has proved more than welcome in setting the tone and vision for the country’s economic future.”
On the call for evidence to share best practice on productivity, Rain said:
“Many British businesses are at the cutting edge of innovation, but others need a helping hand to take on the tried and tested technologies that drive growth. The Chancellor is right to recognise the importance of this to our future productivity performance.
“Great businesses act like magpies, collecting new ideas to boost productivity. But like ostriches, some can bury their heads in the sand and ignore the opportunities in front of them. The Government and businesses will need to work together across sectors and supply chains to spread best practice and make sure magpies win the day.”
On bringing forward the review of Business Rates, she said:
The impact of the out-dated Business Rates system continues to be an Achilles’ heel for many businesses, so it’s absolutely right to fast forward revaluations.”
The TUC has criticised the lack of action in the Chancellor’s Spring Statement today (Tuesday).
Real wage growth in 2018 is forecast to be just 0.3%. And in 2022/23 wages will still be worth less than before the financial crisis fifteen years earlier.
Economic growth, forecast at 1.5% in 2018, will leave the UK with joint weakest growth for G7 nations.
But despite the weak forecasts, the Chancellor has chosen to keep capital investment well below the OECD average and is continuing to peg back public sector pay.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“This was not the jumpstart the British economy needed. The Chancellor had nothing to say to workers hit by falling wages, to communities where there are few decent jobs, or about our public services stretched to breaking point.
“Working people shouldn’t have to wait until the autumn budget for the Chancellor to act. He should boost wages now by giving public servants a proper, funded pay rise. And he should set up a new National Investment Bank to get investment to communities with outdated infrastructure and low productivity. This would attract new business and create better-quality, better-paid jobs.”
Response To The Chancellor's Spring Statement, 13th March 2018, 10:50 AM