Business Reaction To Budget 2017

Businesses are responding to Philip Hammond's Budget. We're publishing what they say as updates come in.

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Businesses are responding to Philip Hammond's Budget. We're publishing what they say as updates come in.


Business Reaction To Budget 2017

Businesses are responding to Philip Hammond's Budget. We're publishing what they say as updates come in.

Share this article

UK businesses and experts are commenting on tax and spending contained within Philip Hammond's latest Budget - here's what they're saying:

Andrew Sentance, senior economic adviser at PwC, on productivity:

“Disappointing productivity growth is expected to continue to dampen the outlook for the UK economy. And as a result, the medium term growth forecasts have been downgraded by the OBR.

"There were some modest measures in the budget to support training and transport infrastructure. We will hopefully hear more when the government’s Industrial Strategy is launched on Monday.”

Fergus Caheny, head of the technology group at Smith & Williamson, on investment in technology:

In the Budget, Mr Hammond announced:

  • £75m for artificial intelligence
  • £400m for electric car charge points
  • £100m to boost clean car purchases
  • £160m for next-generation 5G mobile networks across the UK

“These amounts are not enough by comparison to what is really needed.”

“Of course, any amount is welcome as it puts the issues front and centre.  However, the aim seems to be to grab headlines, rather than have a material effect. Looking at AI, the UK has a commercial and technical advantage over most countries: the investment levels need to reflect this to ensure and maintain our competitive advantage.”

“When you consider the hundreds of millions that Google annually invests in its Deepmind AI program, the government cannot sensibly think £75m will achieve this aim.”

internet of things

The government has pledged billions for new technologies

Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna on employment:

“Chancellor Philip Hammond wasn’t quite right when he said at the weekend that there were no unemployed people in the UK, but the rate of employment is certainly at a historically favourable level.

"Nevertheless, there are still more than 1.4 million people out of work in the UK and our site currently carries more than 1.1 million vacancies. It is therefore encouraging to hear the OBR forecast another 600,000 more people in work by 2022.

“One of the most heartening aspects of Hammond’s Budget speech today was his commitment to jobs of the future, with £500m earmarked for projects around AI, 5G and fibre broadband and a stated desire to help tech start-ups reach scale. Britain is at the forefront of tech development and the intention to maintain and enhance this position is welcome."

Stephen Dyson, Head of Industry 4.0 at Proto Labs, on research and development:

"We welcome the Chancellor’s commitment to increase the Government’s investment into R+D to support innovation and in-turn the future productivity of the UK.

"Our industrial, engineering and manufacturing industries will be bolstered by this investment, as will industry-specific research centres such as the National Automotive Innovation Centre.

"Continued collaboration between industry and research institutions will help to maintain the country’s competitive position going forward. This additional financing will also provide welcome support for businesses trying to encourage more young people to pursue careers within manufacturing."

Eugene Mizin, CEO and co-founder of Job Today on business support:

“Many businesses will look at today’s Budget and feel it does not go far enough to support their growth, and encourage the continued survival of the Great British high street.

"Forecast productivity is lower than expected, and with fewer EU workers coming to work in the UK, finding staff has become a growing challenge for many companies – especially in retail and hospitality.

“The Budget’s proposed investments in technology, infrastructure and R&D are a step in the right direction, but as long as businesses are dealing with an ongoing shortage of staff, economic growth will be hampered in the mid to long-term.”


Hammond is proud of the government's record on jobs

Angus Dent, CEO, ArchOver on productivity:

“The UK’s productivity growth continues to decrease and we’re looking in the wrong place for answers. It’s not just a case of everyone working a bit harder. Investment in public infrastructure and fiscal policy will be the defining factors that help the UK catch up, while real growth will come from our SME sector.

“Britain is known as a nation of entrepreneurs. Yet we’re in real danger of not giving our SMEs the support they need to thrive. We need a bottom-up approach where small businesses with bright ideas have access to the finance and advice they need to grow. Only then will we have the firm economic foundation we need to build our productivity post-Brexit.

“The expansion of the National Investment Fund in today’s Budget is a good start, but too many SMEs still have to pay their way with personal savings or put their houses on the line as security if they turn to the big banks for help."

Darren Roos, President SAP ERP Cloud on investment in artificial intelligence:

“The government’s pledge today for artificial intelligence is highly welcomed and a necessity not just for the tech sector but the UK economy as a collective. The UK’s productivity woes need little introduction, but the arrival of artificial intelligence and automation can go some way to addressing these.

"Let’s be clear, this pledge from the government today is a step in the right direction but the UK is in a global race when it comes to the adoption of AI technology, and it cannot afford to lose. While today’s pledge is an excellent start, other countries are investing far more in AI.

"Today’s pledge from government must act as a catalyst for cross-industry investment in this technology, with bold new ways of working created and AI front and centre."

Alan Price, Peninsula Employment Law Director, on the living wage increase:

"The Chancellor confirmed National Living Wage will increase from £7.50 to £7.83 per hour from April 2018. All rates of the National Minimum Wage will also increase from next April, in line with the Low Pay Commission’s recommendations.

"This early confirmation ensures employers have sufficient time to plan for the wage increases, both financially and administratively. Following an increased focus on enforcement in this area, failing to pass on these increases puts employers at risk of being publicly named and shamed or facing financial penalties. Even a one day delay will create liability."

David Galsworthy, CEO of Techspace, said:

“Today’s move by the government is critical for the growth of scaling technology companies in the UK in the coming years.

“After the Brexit vote there’s been a lot of uncertainty around what would replace the European Investment Fund. With the promise of a new £2.5 billion investment fund, the government is seeking to help the UK’s scale up companies bridge the funding gap and help them grow into the next technology unicorns.

“This is welcome news in a post-Brexit UK tech economy.”

Mike Cherry, National Chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said:

“Overall, this is a business-friendly Budget. The Chancellor’s vision for an inclusive economy includes a set of measures that will boost confidence across the small business community as they face extremely challenging trading conditions.

“1.5 million modest-earning small firms and the self-employed will be relieved that we have seen off a VAT tax grab that would have caused huge economic damage. Instead, FSB is ready to work with the Treasury to simplify an over-complicated tax that on average takes a business a whole week to administer every year.

“We welcome the careful approach to protect diesel van drivers while at the same time addressing air quality. We also welcome the fuel duty freeze, which is vital to so many local businesses for customers, suppliers and staff."

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Business Reaction To Budget 2017

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