With the Budget speech just around the corner, the British Chambers of Commerce has published its Budget submission ahead of the Chancellor’s speech on the 20th of this month. It calls on the Chancellor to take rapid steps to change government spending patterns, focussing on more productive areas that could stimulate growth measures that could be delivered quickly.
The BCC believes the government needs to sign off on a Budget that boosts the entrepreneurial spirit of the UK, boosting investment and business confidence helping all sizes of company get back on the straight and narrow. The BCC’s call to re-prioritise spending on economic growth has also been backed by a big survey of public opinion – 51% of the public backed a shifting of resources towards growth, even if it meant cuts to universal benefits or other social spending, however 28% did disagree with this, a not insignificant percentage.
So, what did the Budget submission say? Amongst other things, it stated:
The government should keep its flexibility in its deficit reduction plan, however, if no economic progress has been made in 2013 then new options need to be explored. Reducing the deficit is still supported by the BCC, but it sees there could be a point at which deficit reduction becomes impossible in the absence of sustained growth.
The government should re-prioritise resources away from unproductive spending towards investment in the wider economy. This means shifting spending towards growth, such as road building and house building, even if this requires cuts in social spending. This could require an abandonment of ring fenced funding, as well as potential cuts to universal benefits.
The government must embark on a large scale effort to deliver on promises already made. This includes a firm timetable for the launch of credible British Business Bank, which 60% of businesses said they would feel more confident about securing finance if it came to light.