Philip Hammond delivering his Autumn Statement to the House of Commons yesterday.
Philip Hammond delivered his Spring Statement for 2019 at the House of Commons, and Yorkshire businesses have responded.
Rebecca Wayman

Spring Statement 2019: Yorkshire and the Humber businesses have their say

Today (March 13), the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond delivered his Spring Statement for 2019.

Hammond talked through the likes of a £37bn National Productivity Investment fund, which is said to represent the biggest ever pot of infrastructure investment being thrown into the country’s railways and roads “since Victorian times”.

Also on the agenda was a hugely positive promise in the form of free sanitary products for schools from 2020, to a £3m ‘Affordable Homes Guarantee scheme’, which would support the delivery of around 30,000 homes.

It’s true that Hammond’s points mainly sounded positive, but the Yorkshire and the Humber region has given its opinion on the matters raised, and Bdaily got a chance to hear what they said.

Tim Mills, Angel CoFund

Tim is the management director of the Angel CoFund in Sheffield, and had this to say about the Statement: “This Statement obviously comes amid a great deal of uncertainty for the UK economy, and the country as a whole.

“While the nature of our future relationship with EU remains opaque for now, it is encouraging to see the government place an emphasis on funding and supporting the science and technology communities.

“Regardless of what happens next in the Brexit process, innovation in science and technology has always been a fundamental pillar of the UK economy and is likely to be more important than ever before going forward.

David Brennan, Nexus Vehicle Rental

David is the CEO of Leeds-based Nexus Vehicle Rental. He said: “Brexit has dominated Westminster this week and we certainly expected limits to Mr Hammond’s Spring Statement as uncertainty abounds after yesterday’s vote on Theresa May’s deal.

“Indeed, the Chancellor declared the ‘cloud of uncertainty’ our economy faces is the most pressing issue at the beginning of his speech, and it is clear that businesses won’t have too many solid assurances from government to help them plan for the future any time soon.

“As expected, the Chancellor was quick to highlight improvements in the UK’s financial position since his last Autumn Budget, and the longest growth run of any G7 nation, but he has yet to deliver any significant tax or spending announcements in its wake, rather concentrating on continued wage growth of three per cent over the next five years.

“What is clear is that mobility is critical for our economy and for British business to thrive. We are reliant on transport for the timely movement of people, goods and services around the country, and require clear action from the government to ensure the backbone of the UK is protected throughout this tumultuous period.”

Suzanne Robinson, EY

Suzanne is the Yorkshire managing partner for EY. She said: “Even in his final social media tweet before delivering the Spring Statement, the Chancellor reminded us that this would not be a major fiscal event - and it certainly wasn’t.

“It was, in fact, more a plea from government to parliament to reach consensus and to ensure that the UK does not leave Europe with no deal.

“Beginning, middle and end of his 30-minute speech, the Chancellor reminded us that all plans were ‘subject to a Brexit deal being agreed’.

“He even dangled the carrot of a ‘deal dividend’ to the UK economy - both fiscal and in terms of the impact of improved business confidence.

“It is certainly true that today’s Spring Statement will not be at the forefront of business’ minds as much as previous years and it is right that the focus is on ensuring the certainty and stability that businesses need to make investment decisions and to grow.

“One important announcement for business is the government’s recognition of the impact that late payment can have on small businesses and that audit committees will be required to review payment practices and report on them in their annual accounts.

“Given the circumstances, I was heartened to hear the Chancellor still find room to confirm the government’s commitment to Northern Power Rail, which is so important to the continued success of the Northern economy.”

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