2017 Autumn Budget – the business reaction

business rates system

Business groups have responded to the key announcements made in Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Autumn Budget speech.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) welcomed the reforms to the business rates system. Mike Cherry, its National Chairman, commented: ‘FSB presented a series of reforms to the Chancellor to make the business rates system fit for the future, and we are delighted to see so many taken on board to improve a tax that so badly undermines economic growth.

‘We are particularly proud to see the elimination of the staircase tax, a victory that FSB has campaigned hard to secure over the last few months.’

Meanwhile, the Institute of Directors (IoD) stated that the Chancellor ‘dipped his toe in the water with this Budget, but failed to make a splash with business’. The IoD went on to say that companies will be ‘disappointed with what they got’.

It did, however, welcome the Chancellor’s decision not to reduce the VAT registration threshold, branding this a ‘relief’.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) welcomed the announcements made in the Budget. Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the CBI, said: ‘This is a Budget that balances support for people on squeezed incomes with vital action to help grow the UK out of austerity.

‘Action on business rates, R&D tax credits, the National Productivity Investment Fund and Brexit planning will help firms to invest and grow today against an uncertain Brexit backdrop.’

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), however, stated that more needs to be done to ensure that the Brexit process runs as smoothly as possible. Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the BCC, said: ‘Despite the inclusion of a number of announcements that will support business communities in the short term, more will still need to be done over the coming months to lay the groundwork for a successful Brexit transition.

‘Businesses will expect greater boldness from the Chancellor – and more radical support for infrastructure and investment – once a Brexit transition period is secured and the shape of a UK-EU deal becomes clearer.’