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Ask the Panel: Wish list for chancellor’s 2017 Autumn Budget

Ask the Panel: Wish list for chancellor’s 2017 Autumn Budget

As chancellor Philip Hammond prepares to reveal his financial plans for a country still gripped by uncertainty on 22 November, Move Commercial asks some of the North West’s most prominent business insiders:

Q: What would you like to see in the Autumn Budget?

 

Bill Addy

chief executive of Liverpool BID Company

I want to see a Budget that represents a balancing of power from the South to the North with increased support for the Northern Powerhouse, particularly surrounding HS2, and even more so, HS3.

It’s imperative that the government listens to this argument being put forward. Connecting Liverpool to the HS2 network would be a game-changer for the commercial, retail and leisure businesses in Liverpool city centre.

From a visitor economy point of view I would like to see an increased control in local taxation, in particular a tourism tax. As an example, a £1 per hotel bed/per night tax could generate £3 million a year, which would then be ring-fenced and ploughed back into the city.

Liverpool has a burgeoning visitor economy that needs continuous investment and support for it to continue its growth. We need to support businesses and invest in skill development across the sector, covering a whole range of roles from front to back of house.

Let’s have a Budget that frees up spending through more devolved powers enabling the independent cities in the North to work together to deliver the economic boost it needs post Brexit.

 

Chris Cheap

regional senior director, GVA

Following the Prime Minister’s rallying call to housebuilders at the recent Conservative Party Conference it would seem that there is more than likely going to be a housing theme to Philip Hammond’s Autumn Budget.

A review of section 106 agreements would be welcomed by the smaller housebuilders with less financial muscle and we suspect there may also be changes to Stamp Duty which could lead to an upturn in larger properties transacting.

This Stamp Duty review could also include a switch on who is a liable to pay – it is widely thought that this will create greater mobility at both ends of the housing ladder.

All of these initiatives will help a housing market which is under pressure. Elsewhere we suspect it will be a quiet budget across commercial property markets with a hope that nothing seismic is proposed to undermine the occupier confidence that is underpinning the central Manchester office and investment markets.

 

Steve Hunt

managing director, Steven Hunt & Associates

After Brexit and the General Election, many in the industry have been worried about the uncertainty of our future and the sooner we can achieve clarity the better.

There is a feeling in the economy that a very similar pattern is emerging to those experienced in 2008, when at that time all seemed well until it dropped off a cliff without warning, meaning an air of caution needs to be planned this time.

With so much regeneration currently taking place in the Liverpool City Region, I hope that the Budget will see more doors opened for the North West, tapping into our exceptional skills within the region in industry and manufacturing.

Encouraging younger people to get involved in apprenticeship schemes, in particular making use of degree apprenticeships as a route to qualification whilst on the job would also be good to see in the Budget.

The youth are our future, and if we can get them into companies at an early age and give them the right qualifications, investing in their future, then that can only be a positive for everyone.

 

Ming Yeung

managing director, YPG

Collaboration between the private sector and the council is creating invaluable employment opportunities; from gold-collar roles in the Knowledge Quarter, to the vibrant workforce supporting Liverpool’s buoyant leisure and tourism industry.

But a growing workforce needs a fair, functioning and affordable housing sector, along with transport infrastructure to connect the city region with the rest of the country.

The Prime Minister’s recent £2 billion pledge to support local authority housebuilding nationally is a welcome start. The chancellor now needs to develop this with further fiscal support and progressive policy announcements to enable meaningful regeneration across the devolved city region.

For the government’s recent public re-commitment to the Northern Powerhouse to be more than a hollow platitude, the Budget must contain concrete measures to redress the North-South transport spending disparity, and deal with East-West connectivity problems.

There’s a strong consensus amongst business and civic leaders that better connectivity will unlock growth in Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Hull and surrounding areas.

That people living in the capital receive six times more spending per head than those living in the North is shameful. Piecemeal infrastructure improvements won’t cut it. Crossrail for the North is long overdue. The transformative effect it would have on Liverpool and the North as a whole is beyond question.