A regional business leader believes the Spring Budget now needs to rapidly deliver significant and impactful outcomes for the UK’s economy.

The latest SmartRegion report highlights that it is vital to kick-start growth in a currently stagnating economy, and the tax incentives announced by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt last month need to stimulate green skills growth and green innovation.

The report also focuses on earlier announcements on investment through the Advanced Manufacturing Plan and UK Battery Strategy, related to the automotive and future mobility sector, which need to start being put into action sooner rather than later.

The SmartRegion report contains findings from research and engagements contributed by the Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Hub, Warwickshire County Council, Coventry City Council and other local and national business support organisations.

The main points of the Spring Budget in the sub-region included devolution powers being extended to Warwickshire County Council, and Coventry being provisionally awarded £5 million in capital funding as part of the Levelling Up Culture Projects.

Craig Humphrey, Chief Executive at Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Hub, said whether the Spring Budget would bring much-needed confidence to the UK economy, only time would tell.

He said: “The 2p reduction in National Insurance will put more money in employees’ pockets which is a positive since it will make work more attractive and have the knock-on effect of bringing more people back into the labour market – particularly those who decided not to return to work following the pandemic.

“The predictions from the Office for Budget Responsibility that inflation is due to fall further and below the 2 per cent target from a high of 11 per cent is good news for the economy, showing business confidence is slowly returning.

“At a time when Coventry and Warwickshire – like most of other areas of the country – is struggling to attract and recruit workers with the right skills in some sectors, this could encourage people back into the workplace.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and for business owners there was a welcome increase in the VAT threshold from £85,000 to £90,000 which will make a difference when every penny counts as energy bills and business rates have hit many firms hard.

“Coventry and Warwickshire is renowned for its expertise in the digital creative sector –
particularly in Leamington and surrounding areas dubbed Silicon Spa – and unlocking more pension fund capital for the tech sector will help with investment.

“I’m a big believer in shifting decisions to a more local level, so it was encouraging to hear that a Level 2 Devolution Deal has been agreed with Warwickshire. Once it has been ratified by Warwickshire County Council, it will give the local authority more control and influence over local growth by the transfer of new powers and funding.

“The deal also emphasises the importance of stakeholders continuing to work together to ensure the independence of the local business community is maintained within the county.

“Coventry and Warwickshire has a strong and resilient economy, and we hope that given stability we will return to sustained growth for the foreseeable future.”

Caption: Craig Humphrey, Chief Executive of Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Hub