Vaccine hope puts growth back on Budget wish list for Thames Valley businesses
Thames Valley mid-sized businesses want the Chancellor to focus on economic growth over COVID-19 support measures in the upcoming Budget, according to a new survey from Grant Thornton UK LLP.
The research finds that 45% of mid-sized companies in the region want Rishi Sunak to prioritise growth, while 33% call for more help coping with the impact of the pandemic.
An uptick in optimism since the end of 2020 is a likely driver of the renewed interest in growth, with 86% of Thames Valley businesses surveyed feeling optimistic about the outlook of the UK economy over the next six months, 6% higher than the national average. Outlook for revenue growth in the region is also positive, with 88% of companies saying they are feeling optimistic.
Incentives to invest in R&D (47%) and improvements to infrastructure (43%) top the wish list of growth measures businesses in the region want to see.
Of the existing government support they would most like to see extended, the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme took top billing (35%), followed by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (33%) and Business Rates Holiday (33%).
Jim Rogers, Thames Valley practice leader, Grant Thornton said: “Business leaders across our region do see light at the end of the tunnel. The pandemic has hit parts of the economy hard but this is the Silicon Valley of Europe and the breadth and variety of innovation-based businesses here means Thames Valley has strong foundations. Though we’re currently still in a lockdown and prioritising health and safety, business leaders are planning for the mid to long term future. A likely driver for this increase in optimism is the ongoing success of the UK vaccine programme and is further bolstered by the Bank of England’s predictions of a strong economic recovery.
“It is important that the government capitalises on this optimism as a driver for growth and backs business in the right way. Though government support has been vital during the pandemic, as we start to plan our roadmap to recovery, we can see clearly from the findings of this research that businesses are starting to look longer term, prioritising incentives and investment that support growth, with less reliance on government handouts.”
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Helena Young .
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