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Home / News & Opportunities / Chamber News

Date: 22/11/2017

Today (Wednesday 22 November), Chancellor Philip Hammond delivered the Autumn Budget, which he promises will get Britain “fit for future”.

The Chancellor announced plans for the NHS, tax, housing, transport and, of course, Brexit.
Sophia Haywood, Policy Manager at Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, provides the initial reaction to the announcements, and what this may mean to businesses in the two counties.
Sophia commented: “Businesses will be pleased that the Chancellor has listened to the Chamber network’s concerns about the costs of increased business rates. Locally and nationally we’ve lobbied hard for the uplifting of this by the CPI inflation index, and we are delighted that this is happening two years earlier than planned. There is still a lot to do concerning reforming business rates, but this is a good start.
“Firms will also be pleased to hear about investment in technology and connectivity. Firstly, the £500m investment in artificial intelligence and 5G initiatives is fantastic for our innovative cyber businesses, small and large across the two counties, especially the hub of cyber firms in Malvern and Hereford. While less grand looking, the £30m investment in improving mobile and digital connectivity on trains will provide a simple solution to the many business people across Herefordshire and Worcestershire who struggle to work on the go, a welcome move to make the two counties more productive.
Sophia added: “Small businesses across Herefordshire and Worcestershire will be pleased with the announcements on VAT. The Chancellor is right to have not lowered the threshold at this time in order to keep small businesses out of VAT, and keeping them investing and growing their business at the early stages. However, launching a consultation on the issue shows that the government are open to addressing the high threshold in the future and here at the Chamber we will continue to monitor this on behalf of our small business members.”