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Business groups react to Summer Economic Update

Business groups, including the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) have reacted to Chancellor Rishi Sunak's Summer Economic Update.

In the Update, the Chancellor announced a range of measures designed to protect and create jobs and boost the UK economy following the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown. A new Job Retention Bonus was announced, alongside a six-month VAT reduction for businesses in the hospitality and tourism sector and a temporary increase to the nil-rate band of residential Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) in England and Northern Ireland.

The CBI welcomed the Chancellor's measures. Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the CBI, said: 'The Chancellor's jobs plan will be a much-needed down payment in young people's futures. By investing in skills, the government can lessen the potential scarring impact of the pandemic for the next generation.'

The FSB stated that the UK economy may need an additional boost in the short-term. Commenting on the Update, Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the FSB, said: 'The Chancellor is absolutely right to stress that the job of getting the economy back on its feet has only just begun.

'Will this set of measures be enough to spur activity over the coming weeks? That's something that will need to be kept under close review – we may need further action before the autumn.'  

The BCC gave a decidedly cautious response. Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the BCC, said: 'Businesses will celebrate many of the Chancellor's announcements . . . although it is likely that the scale of the stimulus needed to help the UK economy restart, rebuild and renew will need to be greater still over the coming months.'