The Chancellor’s announcement, whilst still lacking in some detail, appears to be driving through on Truss’s promise of a bold plan to cut taxes and offer support to aid growth, along with energy support for businesses and households, which is positive overall for the UK.

Confirmation on the short-term fix of a six-month energy business support package, whilst encouraging, still throws up unanswered questions. Which companies will be deemed vulnerable beyond this? Businesses rely on certainty so will the guarantee of a support package to be reviewed in a few months’ time be enough to protect them? Many companies and public sector organisations will need additional support so a tailored package beyond six months is a necessity. Let’s hope for more clarity and action to see businesses through the winter and beyond. 

The reversal of the hike in corporation tax is also welcomed and will hopefully go some way towards spurring business growth and inward investment.

Plans to transform brownfield sites and other locations into freeports and “investment zones” will be accelerated within more than 40 sites i.e. freeports, are very encouraging for the levelling up agenda and will go towards creating a very appealing investment opportunity throughout England and, ultimately, the wider UK, with the Tees Valley, West Midlands and Somerset amongst those areas set to benefit from the scheme.

It has been hugely positive to see Simon Clarke step into post as the Levelling Up lead and we expect there will be much faith placed in him from UK businesses on delivering what is needed to see funding released and ensure key projects are put underway. We hope to see further clarity on this and indeed the wider economic outlook in the main Budget later this year.

The frequency and unpredictability of recent political events and announcements will have understandably added to the stresses and strains of businesses cross-sector, many of whom who have already weathered numerous years of economic upheaval. It is hoped this is the tip of the iceberg in terms of what support we might expect to see for the region’s business community in the weeks and months to come.