Member Article

Rising optimism puts growth back on Budget wish list for East Midlands business leaders

Mid-market businesses in the East Midlands want the Chancellor to prioritise business growth in the upcoming Budget over introducing or extending COVID-19 support, according to a new national survey from Grant Thornton UK LLP.

Some 54% of companies in the region think Rishi Sunak should focus on measures to encourage business growth, versus 28% who want additional COVID-19 support and 18% who are in favour of recovery measures.

Incentives for employers to invest in skills attraction and development top the wish list of mid-market businesses in the region, cited by 50% of respondents. While 48% want to see measures to improve the region’s infrastructure.

Levelling up also remains high on the regional agenda, with 46% of businesses wanting to see a commitment to greater devolution of powers and investment in the Midlands when the Chancellor make his statement to the House of Commons on 3rd March.

This focus on growth coincides with a national uptick in optimism since the end of 2020, with 80% of businesses surveyed feeling optimistic about the outlook of the UK economy over the next six months, an 18 percentage point increase compared to December last year.

Dave Hillan, Partner and Practice Leader at Grant Thornton UK LLP in the region, said: “Government support has been vital during the pandemic, yet as we can see clearly from the findings of this research the region’s businesses are starting to look longer term, prioritising incentives and investment that support growth, with less reliance on government handouts.

“The increased levels of optimism compared to the end of last year are a welcome sign that business leaders are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel, no doubt driven by the ongoing success of the UK vaccine programme and the Bank of England’s predictions of a strong economic recovery.

“It is important that the government capitalises on this optimism as a driver for growth and backs business in the right way.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Helena Young .

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