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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Dear Chancellor: North West-mid-market’s Budget wish list revealed

As the Chancellor prepares his Spring Budget, new research from Grant Thornton UK LLP’s latest Business Outlook Tracker* reveals the policy areas that North West mid-market business leaders hope to see prioritised by the Chancellor. 


The survey found that incentives to support international trade ranked top of the North West wish list – with over one-third choosing this as a top priority (36%).  


With erratic changes to tax policy over the last few months, following the mini-budget in September, it is logical that certainty around future tax policy ranks as the second highest priority for the North West market – 1 in 3 (31%) chose it as a top priority. As the end to the super-deduction approaches, incentives for capital investment tied as the second top priority (31%).  


The rapid adoption of digital technology during the pandemic proved the benefits of digital transformation for business and built a new foundation for the usability and functionality of digital tools. The focus on this agenda remains, as measures to support digital transformation was the third  priority for business leaders (29%).   


Though the market continues to grapple with high prices, and businesses face the likely loss of energy support and the impending hike in corporation tax in April, the majority (68%) of the North West mid-market respondents to the research are confident that the government will provide the necessary support for businesses in the Budget. 



Carl Williams, Practice Leader for Grant Thornton UK LLP in the North West, said:  


“Incentives to support international trade came out as top of the list for the North West and are a must if we want businesses to export and grow into global markets post Brexit, as well as help companies flourish here.  


“It’s clear that clarity around future tax policy is an important priority for North West businesses.  We know that the super-deduction tax break has helped to boost investment in the mid-market – with most of the businesses who have used it confirming it encouraged them to invest more. With the end to the allowance expected in April, there remains a vacuum of uncertainty on whether further support will be available for capital investment. 


“Adoption of digital technology was also key for our region. The pandemic accelerated a fundamental shift in how we work, underpinned by a greater reliance on technology and the need to ‘go digital’. In many cases, digital transformation led to improved efficiency, new routes to market and greater collaboration. The mid-market now has the potential to build on, and accelerate, its digital journey and we need to ensure the momentum around this agenda does not slow.  

“Finally, I’d also like to see a further commitment from the Government for the Levelling Up Fund – too many places in need didn’t succeed last time, while an intent to provide targeted and specific grants to support the low-carbon revolution in our region would be a worthy investment in the future.” 



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