The latest from the Black Country 

Black Country is Squeezed Middle

The businesses attending the Black Country Budget presentation at Highfields School in Penn expressed disappointment in the Chancellors statement.

Kevin Rogers, CEO of Paycare and member of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce Platinum Group and Patron, said: "There was nothing in there for the Black Country and we risk becoming the squeezed middle as investment goes to the North and the South. There was nothing about infrastructure investments for this area and we need better public transportation, roads and broadband if our businesses are going to attract new opportunities."

Tim Yorke, Financial Director of Ultra Furniture, said: "The announcements about minimum wage and apprenticeships were welcome, as are the opportunities to give people more disposable income through increased personal allowances and more opportunities to buy homes through the help to buy ISA."

Although 42% of the people attending the event agreed that this was a budget for business, 64% said the budget was aimed at the upcoming election rather than growing the economy. 62% said that the budget offered positive prospects for students but 54% said that the statement fell short of the 'revolution in education and training' specified in the Black Country Chamber of Commerce manifesto.

Johnathan Dudley, Managing Partner of Crowe Clark Whitehill and Chair of The Alliance 4 the Black Country, summarised the Chancellors statement by saying: "Things are going well and the economy is improving. We should not therefore expect the Chancellor to announce any surprise interventions. Businesses want stability and once the election is out of the way we would hope that the new government will provide further opportunities for business growth."

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