Autumn Statement - Sheffield Chamber Reaction

24th November 2016

Commenting on today's Autumn Statement, Richard Wright, Executive Director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said: "There aren't too many surprises in the statement and in fairness to the Chancellor he must feel he is working within a straight jacket.

We are seeing the long-term effects of insufficient investment in wealth creation, particularly in the North of England. It is easy to blame the Brexit effect but I think it goes much deeper than that. "Exports are particularly worrying. The Chancellor identified that exports have fallen as a proportion of GDP for years despite massive investments by the Government in trade support through BIS, UKTI and now DIT but it's no good changing the name. The way that support is given needs completely overhauling to support that reflects the commercial environment in which trade is carried out - less process and more results driven. -Interestingly, and in the long term, Brexit may actually allow us more flexibility here as we refine our trading methodology with other parts of the world. The 21st century is likely to be the Asian century, as focus continues to move from Europe and the West. "That apart, we are pleased with the extra money for research and development, infrastructure and air passenger duty. -We need to see much more around how we are going to deliver the 2% productivity target. This region needs more than that because we are behind the national average and it's one of our greatest challenges. "As always in these events the devil is in the detail which we'll only get over the next few days so we need to keep our eyes on that."

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