Despite today’s Spring statement being hyped as low-key event, business leaders have called for reassurances from Mr Hammond about the economy and his commitment to spend.
Babs Murphy, pictured, chief executive of the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce said: “Its vital for the chancellor to prioritise an environment for businesses to flourish.
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“We are calling for the government to deliver new and improved railway infrastructure, capacity improvements at our airports, and new runways. We accept that that some projects are coming to fruition.
“But the backlog is huge – and both public and private investment must grow.
“The government must start to tackle the £7bn pounds of unfunded repairs on local roads across the country, so that businesses and their employees can get from A to B.”
She added: “The revitalisation of the energy grid that supplies power to our homes and businesses is also so important as is the exploiting the potential for supplying energy from the resources in these islands, rather than from abroad.
“We believe the Government should be far more radical in the use of the state’s assets and balance sheet to build more houses – rather than just talk about planning reforms and targets that don’t do the job on their own.”
Martyn Kendrick, regional director for SME Banking in the North West, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking said: “North West businesses understand that the new-format Spring statement is unlikely to include many big-ticket announcements.
“So they will be hoping instead for reassurance from the Chancellor about the course the economy is taking.”
l Will the Chancellor spring a surprise? Page 25