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5th Jul, 2022

Chamber backs calls for measures to help firms with rising costs

EMERGENCY measures are needed to help companies deal with rising costs, say business leaders in the region.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce is backing the British Chambers of Commerce’s (BCC) calls for an immediate emergency budget to deal with the costs crisis facing businesses.

The BCC has developed a three-point action plan that would allow firms to keep a lid on rising prices, boost productivity and ease cost pressures.

The proposals include reversing the recently introduced National Insurance increase until at least 2023-24, cutting VAT on businesses’ energy bills from 20 per cent to five per cent for a minimum of one year, and reinstating free Covid tests for companies to ease the strain on productivity caused by persistent high absences.

The Chamber says the three steps would take the pressure off businesses that are battling to keep the economy afloat, and offer a route to higher productivity and tax receipts in the future.

Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “At the height of the Covid-19 crisis, the Government offered unprecedented support to businesses on a scale never seen before.

“Nobody in business is expecting or calling for that level of help again – but with rising costs impacting on just about every company across the patch and, indeed, the country, colleagues at the British Chambers of Commerce are rightly looking to the Chancellor to introduce measures to ease those burdens.

“We are in regular contact with our members and costs are being raised by them time and again as a real barrier to growth and, therefore, urgent action is needed.”

Shevaun Haviland, director general of the BCC, said: “These are simple, straightforward measures that can be quickly reversed when the economy is in better shape.

“The Treasury and HMRC have proven their ability during the pandemic to implement similar changes quickly and efficiently. Making these changes would have an immediate benefit for both businesses and the public.”

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