BUSINESSES in the West Midlands have urged the Government to accelerate its plans for devolution following the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.
George Osborne announced that new money would be made available for Local Enterprise Partnerships and that the government would follow the recommendations of the Heseltine Review to create a single pot for LEPs to bid into for infrastructure projects and skills.
Steve Brittan, president of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group, said that to genuinely balance the economy, devolution needs to be speeded.
He also welcomed the reductin of corporation tax by a further one per cent to 21 per cent from April, 2014.
There was also a welcome boost for the construction industry with the news that empty property rate relief would now enjoy a grace period. Mr Brittan said: “For manufacturers, the announcement that the small companies tax rate of 20 per cent will be maintained for another two years and plant and machinery capital allowance will be increased to £250,000 is welcome and should incentivise business to invest.
“The cancellation of the planned increase in fuel tax in January will benefit all elements of business.
“The increase of 25 per cent in funding for UK Trade and Investment will be a huge boost for Birmingham exporters.”
However, the Chamber was disappointed that investment in infrastructure projects was not given a big enough impetus by the Chancellor.
“Projects like HS2 are not accelerating quickly enough and too many projects are being bogged down in red tape and Whitehall inertia,” said Mr Brittan.