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Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is due to unveil his latest financial plans in the Spring Budget, with issues like energy bills support, corporation tax, public sector pay and getting early retirees and the long term sick back into work rumoured to be amongst the key issues he will want to address.

To find out more about what UK businesses are hoping to hear from the Chancellor, we have spoken to some of our clients, here’s what they had to say…

David Levene, Director of the NP11 group of northern Local Enterprise Partnerships:

“The NP11 will be keeping a close eye on positive announcements for the North on Wednesday, particularly measures to boost innovation and R&D, support more northern businesses to trade internationally, and ensure the North is at the forefront of the UK’s transition to net zero.

“Recent reports suggest that the Budget will confirm a number of investment zones across the country, linked to universities and research institutions. As the North featured strongly on the initial list of potential investment zones, and given our strong university base, we hope to see positive news for our region here.

“To unlock the full innovation and growth potential of university investment zones, however these must go hand in hand with support to accelerate business-led innovation and grow local industrial clusters.

“We will therefore also be looking out for continued commitment to the Government’s 2.4% R&D target, with increased investment in the North and other parts of the country that need levelling up. This is how we will ensure all parts of the country are contributing to the Government’s ambition for a Global Britain that is a Science Superpower.”

Philip Cox, Chief Executive of Cheshire and Warrington LEP:

“By investing in Cheshire and Warrington the Government can make the UK the world leader in low carbon energy technology, so we will be looking for measures that enable us to make rapid progress with implementing our £30 billion plan to showcase that technology to decarbonise the industries in Ellesmere Port and surrounding area

“We also need to see the Government strengthen the provision of training and put in place other measures that will help fill the large number of vacancies we are seeing right across Cheshire and Warrington – a challenge that will only increase with forecasts showing a fourfold increase in the number of jobs in the low carbon and renewable energy economy alone in Cheshire and Warrington by 2030.”

Dr Nicola Headlam, Chief Economist and Head of Public Sector at Red Flag Alert:

“We shouldn’t underestimate the scale of economic challenge that the UK currently faces, so next week’s Budget must be a Budget for growth. Despite the gloom and doom, there are reasons for optimism. Our data – which focuses on real-time business activity, not traditional data which tends to be backward-looking – shows there is growth everywhere; it just might not be in the places policymakers typically focus on.

“Too often, government investment in growth and innovation tends to focus on shiny new buildings, and the jury is very much out on the impact these have on local economies – particular places outside of the main economic centres. If I were Chancellor, I’d look at the places that really need levelling up and provide properly devolved funding to local bodies like councils, LEPs and combined authorities, which understand their local economies and how money can be best spent.

“Sadly, last week’s announcement that construction of HS2 in the North is to be delayed again, doesn’t give me confidence that this will be a Budget that focuses on growth in the areas that most need it.

“If there is one specific plea I’d make, however, it would be DON’T SCRAP THE APPRENTICESHIP LEVY! It’s a brilliant policy, but unfortunately has been poorly implemented and communicated to date.

“Done right though, it’s something tangible that Government can do which will help businesses develop the talent they need, support individuals onto a great career path, and make a meaningful difference to levelling up our economy.”