Responding to Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget, Jasmine Whitbread, Chief Executive of London First, said:
“With a reassuringly bold tone, the Chancellor rightly committed to boost the NHS and shore up business confidence in the face of the immediate threat of coronavirus.
“Measures like the cut to National Insurance Contributions, temporary changes to sick pay and extended relief on business rates will provide much-needed short-term support for businesses and their staff at a time of maximum uncertainty.
“Beyond the immediate priority of tackling coronavirus, focusing on infrastructure investment across the UK is the right decision. The Chancellor’s commitment to build what the country needs, from 5G to new roads and rail is welcome but must be followed up with swift action. Publishing the long-overdue National Infrastructure Strategy is now critical to give industry the certainty it needs to invest in keeping the whole of the UK connected, moving and plugged into the global economy.
“We support the Government’s levelling-up agenda, and businesses in the capital wholeheartedly back HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail. We now need the missing piece of the jigsaw which will help improve rail connectivity — Crossrail 2, which will deliver much-needed additional capacity across the South East, and move people away from transport bottlenecks such as Euston, where HS2 terminates. The Government must also prioritise short-term assistance for the aviation sector as it deals with Coronavirus, alongside providing long-term certainty to support the growth of the industry.
“Given the current health outlook, Brexit can seem like a distant problem. While support for exporters is positive the key for business is what the future relationship with our biggest trading partner will look like.”
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