Spending Review: Main Points & Our Reaction

A summary of the highlights of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement can be found here.  Reaction from Chamber Presidents are below.

An alternative document breaks the announcements down into categories here.

Bradford Chamber President, Andy Caton, said:

“A major house-building programme is something that will be welcomed within Bradford, with its fast-growing young population, although that has to be matched locally with allocating appropriate land.  Tagged on to this is the timetable for establishing the apprenticeship levy, especially in relation to the construction industry and the house-building programme: it remains to be seen whether or not the levy is set at the right level to get buy-in from businesses, but it’s only the very large ones that are asked to commit to this.”

Leeds President Gerald Jennings added:

“I’m sure the local authority is looking forward to retaining all business rates collected – we’ll be working closely with them on this, as you’d expect.  We would hope that the apprenticeship levy will work, and allow vocational training and career paths to be put on a more equal footing with more academic forms of study or employment.”

“The devil is always in the detail, and so we look forward to hearing more about other initiatives mentioned, such as the restructuring of HMRC and protection from flooding.”

York & North Yorkshire President Ed Everard concluded:

“The announcements made need to be backed up with delivery mechanisms, of course, and that will rely on those OBR (Office for Budget Responsibility) figures and forecasts remaining accurate.  Local authorities like York Council will be relieved that the cuts are not greater, and the prospect of retaining money gained from selling property is promising.  It’s good news that York Central is to become a designated enterprise zone – it should unlock fresh investment, create jobs and provide additional funds to the local authority.

“Protecting the schools budget is a good decision too – young people are our future and so we need to invest in them.  One concern will be the 15% cut in DEFRA’s budget, which might have implications on some of our rural businesses in North Yorkshire.”