Business leaders in Coventry react to Chancellor’s Budget

Companies from across the region gathered with the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce to react to the 2020 Budget.

Business leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire welcomed the Chancellor’s Budget as one for the ‘here and now – and for the future.’

As Rishi Sunak MP delivered his first Budget since becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer less than a month ago, companies from across the region gathered with the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce at the Lloyds Bank Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre (AMTC), at Ansty Park.

Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said at the event – sponsored by Prime Accountants Group – that the Chancellor had balanced dealing with the short-term economic shocks with investing in the future of the economy.

She said: “The Budget comes in the midst of the Coronavirus outbreak and on the back of the recent floods, during a period when we are in a transition period as we leave the EU.

“So, for businesses across Coventry and Warwickshire, I believe this was a Budget that dealt head-on with Coronavirus in a way that said, yes, there will be a short-term shock to the economy but that the Government will support companies – especially smaller firms – with that impact.

“Coupled with the earlier reduction in interest rates to 0.25 per cent, the Government and the Bank of England have worked together to give confidence to companies that they are tackling the crisis head-on and for companies to continue with their day-to-day business.

“There were lots of numbers flying around in terms of millions and billions of pounds of support but what’s vitally important is to make it easy for businesses to be able to access that in order for them to keep cash flowing at this time.

“In terms of more long-term ambitions, there was a good win for our regional mayor, Andy Street, in terms of additional funds for brownfield development and around transport, on top of the wider investment announced in infrastructure, including road building.

“There were also positive announcements around R&D and new, green technologies.

“My one ask would have been more mention of our manufacturers and how much of this investment ties into real businesses, on our patch, being able to access support to grow. 

“But, as always, with Budgets and statements of this type the devil be in the detail once we have fully digested it.”

Steve Harcourt, Director at Prime Accountants Group, added: “It wasn’t just a Budget that deals with issues today – although they were addressed – it was a Budget that looks ahead five years.

“There was a lot of infrastructure investment announced and talk of increasing productivity within the UK economy and time will tell whether that can be delivered but, on the whole, it was a positive Budget for business with the largest fiscal boost to the UK economy in 30 years.

“That was very much needed by business in these uncertain times and the investment planned in growth and productivity should see more long-term funding in the public sector too.”