Shropshire Chamber of Commerce says there is ‘much to welcome, but much still missing’ from the Budget statement today.

As expected, the headline figure was a 2% cut in National Insurance, along with economic growth figures which were marginally better than expected. It was also announced that inflation is due to return to its 2% target in the coming months.

Ruth Ross, chief executive of Shropshire Chamber, said: “It’s good to see the Government investing and supporting in research and development, and advanced manufacturing in green technologies.

“Shropshire’s hospitality sector will also clearly welcome the continued freeze in alcohol duty, which will boost the pub trade.

“The 2% cut in National Insurance is welcome, but isn’t going to make a great deal of difference to the majority of people, who will find they are paying back much of it through taxation in other ways.

“With the National Minimum Wage going up and the income tax thresholds once again failing to rise with the rate of inflation, there is an element of smoke and mirrors about all of this.”

She added: “We appreciate that the Chancellor does not have a bottomless pit of funds for dramatic tax cuts in the current climate, but businesses are wrestling with many challenging issues right now, and want a clear vision.

“At a time when local councils are struggling, without enough money to even cover their legal requirements in many instances, there was nothing in the statement to imply extra help and support on the way.

“The tax relief changes for holiday lets could be of concern to Shropshire given the large proportion of leisure and retail lets we have here in the county.”


  • 2p reduction in National Insurance. Average £450 a year for an average salary £30k-plus
  • Day to day public spending increase kept at 1%
  • VAT registration threshold increase from £85,000 to £90,000
  • Windfall tax on oil and gas extended until March 2028
  • Non-dom tax status to be abolished and replaced by a new tax regime - From April next year, new arrivals in the UK won't be required to pay any tax on foreign income but after then - if they still live in the UK - they'll pay the same tax as other UK residents
  • Child benefit salary threshold increase from £50,000 to £60,000
  • Tax on vapes and increase in tobacco duty
  • Fuel and alcohol duty freeze
  • Tax relief for holiday lets scrapped
  • Air passenger duty increased for business class travellers
  • £2.5bn for NHS – modernising NHS IT systems cost £3.4bn
  • Stamp Duty relief for those buying more than one property will be abolished
  • Capital Gains Tax on properties reduced from 28% to 24%
  • To drive investment into UK Stocks – a new British ISA allowing additional £5k annual investments in UK equity
  • Levelling Up money for Canary Wharf - £242m
  • £45m for medical research - £3m into cancer research – new investment into AstraZenca
  • £650m for Cambridge Biomedical Campus and vaccine manufacturing hub in Liverpool
  • £188m for projects in Sheffield, Blackpool, Liverpool
  • £270m for advanced manufacturing industries
  • £120m for Green Industries Growth Accelerator
  • £230m for systems to speed up police response times

Ahead of today’s speech, Shropshire Chamber had joined the British Chambers of Commerce calling for the Government to:

  • Match industry-led funding of £3 million for planning qualifications to help plug the lack of local resource.  
  • Commit to fund business led Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs) beyond the current 2025 cut off point to at least 2028. 
  • Restart the VAT registration review with a view to removing the existing cliff edge – the Chancellor has raised the threshold to £90,000.  
  • Reform business rates to make it a tax that incentives growth. 
  • Introduce a new internationally competitive tax-free shopping scheme. 

Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the BCC, said: “Following the Autumn Statement this Budget was always set to deliver less for business although changes to National Insurance will provide some momentum. However, beyond this there were no major announcements to help shift the dial on conditions for business.  

“The clock is now ticking to the General Election – and this Budget could be the last fiscal event before voters go to the polls. Business confidence is improving but the coming months will remain challenging for many companies. It is vital that the economy remains front and centre of the campaign to come.” 

On jobs, Shevaun said: “The prospect of an additional 200,000 entering into the workforce, due to cuts in National Insurance would make a significant dent in the job vacancies holding back our economy. It will also provide a welcome boost to economic growth. Combined with the increased child benefit threshold, this should help business find the staff they so desperately need."

On the VAT threshold change, she added: “Increasing the VAT threshold to £90,000 from April will help SMEs in our Chamber network to grow and invest but a more fundamental review is required. We will continue to engage with Government to push for this."

Responding to news of new funding to train planners, Shevaun added: “We are pleased the Chancellor has joined forces with the BCC and our founding partner Aviva, by committing £3m of matched funding to our business-led programme to unlock the planning system. This is a clear signal from Government about working in partnership with business to solve problems. We now have a real opportunity to make the system quicker and more efficient for everyone. It is all about investing in talent and building communities.

“It’s also good news that the Chancellor has listened to our calls for the Recovery Loan Scheme to be extended. Under its new name, the Growth Guarantee Scheme will continue to be a financial lifeline for thousands of businesses to get back on track after recent economic shocks and plan for future growth.

“There will be huge disappointment that a new internationally competitive tax-free shopping scheme was not mentioned by the Chancellor. We will review the OBR’s evidence and continue to make the case for this.”