Chamber calls for package to stimulate local economy
DERBYSHIRE and Notts Chamber of Commerce is urging Chancellor George Osborne to implement a package which will unlock stalled developments when he delivers his autumn statement.
The chamber is calling for a £100 million fund to unblock stalled developments, a new cash pot to get capital investment from the private sector moving and more in-market support for local exporters.
The chamber has drawn up an eight-point plan for the Chancellor which it believes will promote business growth and exports, support construction and house-building, and enable private sector investment in capital and infrastructure if implemented.
It includes measures to promote business growth and exports such as:
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A £100 million "Growth Voucher" to give 20,000 businesses with clear growth plans up to £5,000 each to help them get through the planning system; get advice on accessing finance; or help with increasing their workforce.
Targeted "Export Vouchers" to encourage businesses to seek out and access the support they need from public or private sector sources with minimum bureaucracy.
A £100 million-a-year Government investment to support UK exporters in 18 key global markets, linking businesses to new opportunities by adding trade advisers as part of an accredited International Chambers network.
Among measure to support construction and house building are:
The creation of a new £100 million "unblocking fund" for stalled developments, making targeted resources available to ensure major developments have the infrastructure they need to go ahead.
An increase in the building target of the Homes and Communities Agency by a further 100,000 houses nationally.
The chamber is calling for measures to enable private investment in capital and infrastructure. Its ideas include:
The introduction of a new £1 billion "when it's gone, it's gone" capital allowance scheme for the 2013/14 and 2014/15 financial years to encourage businesses to commit to major capital investment.
Encouraging private investment in public infrastructure by reducing risk and providing the certainty of returns that investors require.
Setting up a Government-backed Infrastructure Investment Bank or Reverse Sovereign Wealth Fund that allows institutional investors to invest in projects indirectly and at a guaranteed rate of return.
While the chamber recognises that the Chancellor has very little room to manoeuvre, it says that under-spending from other Government initiatives – such as the £108 million under-spend from previous rounds of the Regional Growth Fund – could be re-allocated to fund the measures it is proposing.
The Chancellor is due to announce his autumn statement on December 5.
Chamber chief executive George Cowcher said: "The Chancellor has a tricky balancing act to perform with his Autumn Statement this year, in that he needs to make some tough decisions to prioritise growth, without them having an adverse effect on the Government's ongoing deficit reduction programme, which is a crucial element of the economic recovery.
"Recent chamber research found that 80 per cent of Derbys and Notts firms have plans to grow over the next 12 months and many chamber members have been looking for ways to grow, export to new markets and take on more staff, even in spite of weak domestic growth and the ongoing crisis in the eurozone.
"While recent, positive announcements regarding GDP, unemployment and retail sales are welcome, the Government still has work to do to ensure that the economic recovery is sustainable over the long-term."