Business demands pro-growth Budget

BUSINESS groups will today begin lobbying the chancellor in earnest ahead of next month’s Budget, urging him to adopt policies that promote economic growth.

The British Retail Consortium will deliver a 20-point plan to George Osborne, which it says will help its members to maintain and create jobs.

It is recommending an 18-month notice period ahead of any increase in the National Minimum Wage, compared to the current six months, and says any hikes should be capped at 1.7 per cent, and no higher than long-term average earnings growth.

It also says Business Rates hikes should be pegged to the Consumer Price Index, making them more predictable.

The chancellor should also reduce the impact of rising transport costs on shoppers by suspending the fuel duty increase due in April and waiving commercial vehicle road tax for a year, the BRC will say.

The BRC is also calling for a moratorium on any new employment legislation until growth is stronger.

Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC, said: “The Prime Minister’s Jobs Summit showed just how reliant on retailing this year’s economic growth will be. We’re not asking for handouts but we do need an environment that eases costs, supports job creation and boosts consumer confidence.”

Meanwhile, manufacturers’ organisation the EEF will today call for the chancellor to include a “growth mandate” in his Budget.

It is asking him to lay out the government’s progress on fostering a private-sector led recovery by providing regular updates on things like the change in total tax costs face by businesses and any shift in the regulatory burden.

EEF chief executive Terry Scuoler said: “The fiscal mandate has reassured business about the stability of the public finances. Government must now send the same signal that it is serious about enhancing the competitiveness of our business environment by matching this with a robust growth mandate.”