Julian Cockwell, south region head of tax at KPMG, outlines what businesses in the South West want from this year’s Autumn Statement:
“I expect this year’s Autumn Statement to be ‘steady as she goes’. While it is positive news that the deficit is down by a third, the Government’s attention must remain on repairing the public finances, which rules out any wild tax giveaways.
“However while reducing the deficit and paying down the underlying structural debt must be the Chancellor’s ultimate end game, achieving sustained economic growth will also play a key role in restoring Britain’s economic health.
“Businesses I speak to in the South West want to see indications that the Government will encourage and foster growth and private sector investment, and not bring in measures which could choke the first signs of a recovery. There is definitely burgeoning confidence in the region, which has been encouraged by the recent raft of positive economic indicators. The Government’s existing plan is beginning to bear fruit; the latest Inflation Report from the Bank of England confirms that good news comes in threes, with the outlook for jobs, output and inflation all improving at the same time.
“Although even optimists have been surprised by how strong 2013 has been, the recovery is not yet secured and a number of headwinds could still knock it off-course. In the Autumn Statement George Osborne must walk the tightrope of reducing the deficit, whilst encouraging further private sector investment and incubating growth. It is a difficult balancing act.”