Express & Star

West Midlands wish list: What Black Country businesses are really hoping for in the budget

West Midlands business chiefs are hoping for fresh help from Chancellor Jeremy Hunt in his Budget tomorrow to help them grow and invest and tackle the continuing skills shortage.

Sarah Moorhouse

Sarah Moorhouse, the chief executive of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, said that Black Country businesses will be realistic about the Chancellor’s Budget given the challenges they have been through over the past few years, but they will be hoping for some positivity in order to make steps forwards.

"Businesses need to feel more confident against a backdrop where they are feeling massive pressures around interest rates, the cost of living, inflation and the uncertain outlook.

"Recruitment, wage inflation and rising energy costs remain the biggest pressure points for businesses, we hear from our membership.

"A small reduction in tax could allow them to invest in their team, secure new equipment or support employees still struggling with the cost of living," she explained.

Mrs Moorhouse added that businesses want to be able to invest to increase growth, employ more people and tackle the skills shortage which was being seen across the Black Country.

"Our most recent survey showed Black Country businesses bucked the national trend around confidence.

"Our Quarterly Economic Survey for quarter four showed 71 per cent of businesses believed turnover will improve in the next 12 months, up from 55 per cent three months earlier and ahead of the British Chamber of Commerce’s national survey which showed 56 per cent of firms were expecting an increase in turnover over the next year.

"We want a stronger economy so any positive announcements from the Chancellor could help businesses stabilise and start looking forward with a little more clarity," she stressed.