Ruth Carver: Upskilling our workforce and improving our technical skills will be crucial

From Greater Lincolnshire’s point of view there was some good news in the Budget, particularly in areas such as research, innovation and technology, technical training and business rates.

We welcome the creation of a £270 million Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to kick-start the development of disruptive technologies that have the potential to transform the UK economy.

Changes to the tax system relating to research and development will increase the certainty and simplicity around claims and will help to improve awareness of R&D tax credits among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Upskilling our workforce and improving our technical skills will be crucial in the coming years as we compete on a global stage, so the extra money to encourage the development of high-skilled research talent and more PhD places is welcome.

We are also pleased to hear that the government will deliver the recommendations of Lord Sainsbury’s panel, including increasing the number of hours of technical training for 16 to 19-year-olds by more than 50%.

There has been much concern over the impact on small firms of business rates revaluation, so we applaud the announcement today of a further £435 million to support businesses facing significant increases in bills from the English business rates system.