Demand for meaningful measures in Autumn Statement

The leader of Dorset’s countywide business support organisation has urged the government to accelerate measures for economic growth in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

Ian Girling, who is chief executive of Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), called for action before the annual announcement is made in the House of Commons on December 3.

He has backed British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) demands for faster infrastructure improvements, quicker repairs to roads networks and incentives to support housing developments.

Business rate reform has also come under Mr Girling’s spotlight as he hammers home the importance of reform for companies locally in Dorset and nationwide.

George Osborne will give an update on the government’s taxation and spending plans, followed by a report from the Office for Budget Responsibility with estimates about economic growth and the government’s finances.

Mr Girling said: “The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, the second of the two most important economic statements that the chancellor gives every year, is a pivotal opportunity to introduce meaningful measures for the benefit of businesses in Dorset and nationwide.

“As the voice of business in Dorset, DCCI supports the BCC call for greater infrastructure investment, accelerated road repairs and incentives for communities to support housing developments.

“Business rates are also a critical issue, and we continue to call for a freeze until 2017’s full revaluation of premises and complete reform of the system by 2022.”

He added: “Dorset businesses have shown great resilience and enterprise in recent years but support of this kind is vital as they make headway from the worst recession in living memory.”

DCCI, the voice of business in Dorset with 700 members representing 37,000 employees, is the only county chamber accredited with the BCC and is able to exert influence on executive BCC policy.

BCC demands include a one-off investment of £7.2bn to bring the roads network in England Wales back to a “reasonable condition”, financial incentives for communities to help accelerate housing developments and the acceleration of infrastructure projects nationwide.

Some 14 leading manufacturers, including Tata, the owner of Jaguar Land Rover, General Motors and Siemens recently wrote to Mr Osborne to warn business rates are ‘simply not fit for purpose’.

The Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said earlier this month that UK growth is expected to be 2.9% next year.

Figures recently released from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that unemployment fell by 115,000 in the three months to the end of September to a total of 1.96 million.