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Spring Budget Response

Paul Cherpeau, chief executive of Liverpool Chamber, said:

“Stronger economic growth forecasts are positive news and will give a measure of confidence to businesses that we are not heading into a deep recession. Business investment is also creeping up and due to increase next year but we would like to see a greater long-term trajectory.

SMEs will welcome the greater breathing space afforded by a higher VAT threshold of £90,000, extending full expensing allowances to leased assets and the extra £200m funding to extend the recovery loans scheme.

Liverpool’s economy is built on a strong cultural and creative economy, while tech and innovation industries offer the greatest hope for our future growth, as evidenced by AstraZeneca’s decision to invest in its vaccine manufacturing facility at Speke. There were several positive notes around tax measures for TV, film and production companies and performing arts productions, and promoting pensions investment into technology enterprises.

Getting people back into work remains a key priority, so further reductions in NI and income tax and changes to child benefit charges must be a positive step towards greater productivity. The early years sector will doubtless welcome plans to guarantee rates for extended childcare, but more detail is still required to ensure that plan is well resourced and deliverable.

Disappointingly, the Chancellor gave very little focus to two key areas which are pivotal to boosting future economic output – investment in skills and improved infrastructure – and without greater clarity on these issues, it is difficult for many aspirational businesses to plan for growth.

We would also have liked to hear more detail on greater devolution powers for the Liverpool City Region, allowing us to have more direct control over the economic direction of the city region.”