Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond is set to deliver his first Autumn Statement on November 23 following the wake of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union.
The vote for Brexit had already had a significant impact on the country including causing the biggest drop in the pound to 19% against US currency by the middle of October.
The future of the UK’s trade is currently up in the air with businesses across the country waiting to hear some direction and there is much anticipation surrounding European funding for both local and national projects that will need to be addressed.
Business leaders from across Lincolnshire hold out a lot of hope for the upcoming announcement to help reassure and encourage all industries of the future that the UK holds.
Philip Hammond has already announced that he will not be cutting Corporation Tax to 15% following the announcement in the Budget by his predecessor George Osbourne, instead it has been reported that he will aim to cut it to 17% by 2020, as previously planned.
The new government assembled by Teresa May after the EU Referendum on June 23 has stated that they will no longer be aiming to get the country out of debt and back into surplus by 2020. A statement which has been interpreted by some commenters as the governments plans to take a step back from its commitments to spending cuts.
What Lincolnshire business leaders think
Sam Elkington, Director and Head of Office at Lambert Smith Hampton’s Lincoln office said: “Whilst there are clearly signs of a recovering economy and the latest trade figures show that the economy has performed well since Brexit, it is important that the Autumn Statement continues to encourage businesses.
“In particular, I think it is important to continue to encourage house building and also to encourage small-medium enterprises to continue to expand.
“We have seen a steady increase in the number of transactions that have been concluded since the middle of the summer and have also started discussions on a number of new projects for 2017. It is important that any government announcement does not put a brake on this recovery.
“Lowering taxes and increasing the reliefs and allowances to business is always a positive step forward and lets be really optimistic and hope that there are announcements made which include some of these.”
Councillor Colin Davie, Executive Member for Economic Development at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “With Brexit on the horizon, this promises to be one of the most interesting Autumn Statements in recent years.
“I’m particularly interested to learn what the Chancellor has planned for international trade. Exporting is a vital part of any growing economy, and we’re working hard to get more Lincolnshire businesses selling their goods abroad. With the government firmly behind us, we could achieve even more.
“I’ll also be looking for further detail on the government’s approach to EU funding programmes. They’ve already announced that they will honour any funding signed off before the Autumn Statement, and I hope the news on later projects will be equally positive.
“Ultimately, I would like the Chancellor to give our businesses the confidence they need to invest, ensuring our county continues to thrive.”
Paul Tutin, Managing Director for Streets Chartered Accountants, said: “The cornerstone of the Autumn Statement will be protecting the economy from any potentially adverse impact of the Brexit vote.
“This will be tempered with the more inclusive strategy of Theresa May so instead of further reductions in corporate taxes, once mooted by George Osborne, there is likely to be greater emphasis on smoothing the economy with increased infrastructure spending and policies designed to assist lower income groups.
“Britain has suffered from years of underinvestment in roads, hospitals and schools and these would be good areas in which to target spending, both putting money into the economy and boosting jobs but also making up for the years of neglect.”
Neil Everatt, Managing Director of Software Europe, said: “The UK now has some real data around the impact of the decision to leave the European Union and this year’s Autumn Statement should provide a clearer indication of the strategy the UK will adopt to protect the economy and make sure it grows.
“We need to hear some solid direction, even though negotiations for the exit haven’t even started yet.
“Software Europe is already seeing the impact of the decision to leave the EU, costs of operating in North America have risen and software development costs have also been hit.
“Investors tell us that the uncertainty is slowing activity as they try to understand how things will look in the future.”
Robbie Kok, Financial Director for Lindum Group, said: “The Autumn Statement will play an important role in setting the tone for the construction sector over the next year.
“It’s widely expected that the government will reiterate support for infrastructure projects and housing, but exactly how they intend to do that in the context of the continuing budget deficit will be of particular interest.
“Given the uncertainty following the EU vote in June, measures to promote confidence in business investment (for example, enhanced capital allowance tax relief) would clearly be welcomed.
“Guidance on how funding will be allocated to housing projects (starter homes, social housing and pre-fabricated housing) and how funding will be provided regionally should also help provide more certainty in the sector – we await with interest.”
David Thorpe, Development Manager for Greater Lincolnshire & Peterborough at the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “Broadly speaking, we’re looking for a green-light on infrastructure projects, simplification of the tax system and a reduction in the cost of doing business.
“In particular, we’re keen to see the commitment to permanently increasing business rates relief reaffirmed.
“For GDP to rise, small businesses must get the help they need to get on and succeed, expand and employ more staff.
“The challenge is clear. The government must now move on from the decision on Heathrow to the Autumn Statement and use it to prioritise long-term national, regional and local investment, enterprise policy and innovation. Above all, it must not place extra burdens on business.
“An Autumn Statement that backs UK small business will stand us in the best possible stead for 2017 and uncertain times ahead.”