2021 Autumn Budget – the business reaction

Business groups have reacted to Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s 2021 Autumn Budget speech.

Responding to the speech, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) stated that the Chancellor ‘showed a willingness to listen to business with measures that will get firms innovating and help the economy to grow’.

However, Tony Danker, Director General of the CBI, warned: ‘This Autumn Budget alone won’t seize the moment and transform the UK economy for a post-Brexit, post-COVID world. Businesses remain in a high-tax, low-productivity economy with concerns about inflation.’

The Institute of Directors (IoD) said that the Chancellor’s business rates and R&D tax credit reforms ‘are welcome, but with hefty hikes in other taxation on the horizon, that may not be enough to convince business leaders to press go on their plans for growth’.

Meanwhile, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) also voiced concerns over the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget announcements. Mike Cherry, National Chair of the FSB, said: ‘This Budget has delivered some measures that should help to arrest the current decline in small business confidence.

‘But against a backdrop of spiralling costs, supply chain disruption and labour shortages, is there enough here to deliver the government’s vision for a low-tax, high-productivity economy? Unfortunately not.’

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) welcomed the changes to the business rates system in England. Shevaun Haviland, Director General of the BCC, commented: ‘The Chancellor has listened to Chambers’ long-standing calls for changes to the business rates system and this will be good news for many firms. This will provide much needed relief for businesses across the country, giving many firms renewed confidence to invest and grow.’

However, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) said that the Chancellor has ‘gone from pay freeze to pay squeeze’. Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC, said: ‘The Chancellor admitted that we will have zero pay growth across the economy next year. And he has no plan to get real wages rising for everyone after an 11-year pay squeeze, with average real pay growth over the next four years predicted to be just 0.3%.’

Read our full summary of the Autumn Budget 2021 here.

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