Shropshire Chamber of Commerce has backed calls for an emergency budget to provide urgent support for struggling businesses, and help to get the economy back on track.

Chief executive Richard Sheehan echoed the views of the British Chambers of Commerce, which wants the Government to focus on three key priority areas:

  • Ease upfront costs of doing business by reversing the recently introduced National Insurance increase until at least 2023/24.
  • Help firms manage the impact of rising energy prices by cutting VAT on their energy bills to 5% for at least a year.
  • Reinstate free Covid tests for companies to ease the strain on productivity caused by persistent high absences.

Mr Sheehan said: “There were some welcome measures in the Queen’s Speech for business, but much of that is for the future. We are more concerned with tackling the problems that we’re hearing about right now.

“Unless the Government takes immediate action, we are increasingly concerned that it could come too late for many Shropshire businesses which are really struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.

“We urgently need to find ways of allowing firms to keep a lid on rising prices, boost productivity and ease cost pressures which seem to be coming at them from every direction at the moment.

“An emergency budget which acknowledges this situation would provide firms with the breathing space they need to raise productivity and strengthen the economy.”

Shevaun Haviland, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, will be one of the headline speakers at the Shropshire Chamber summer conference in Telford on June 8.

She said: “The costs crises facing firms and people in the street are two sides of the same coin.

“If we can ease the pressure on businesses then they can keep a lid on the price rises being driven by surging energy bills, staff shortages and higher taxes.

“Only after an emergency budget will some of the legislation set out in the Queen’s Speech have a chance to drive our economy forward.”

Shropshire Chamber, along with the BCC, said the Higher Education Bill outlined in the Queen’s Speech gave a ‘welcome commitment’ to create a flexible lifelong loan entitlement that allows adults to upskill and reskill for the changing workplace.

And it said the Brexit Freedoms Bill had the potential to unlock innovation and expansion in a range of new and developing technologies, especially the expanding world of Net Zero products and services.

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