The latest from the Black Country 

The Black Country Chamber of Commerce Manifesto for Business Growth

The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne will announce his budget on 8 July 2015 and the Black Country Chamber of Commerce will be broadcasting the event at the Grand Station, Sun Street, Wolverhampton from midday.

Johnathan Dudley, Managing Partner and Head of Manufacturing Business Crowe Clark Whitehill LLP and Chair of the Alliance for the Black Country (which drives the Black Country Chamber of Commerce Competitiveness agenda) has put together a manifesto for growth. Johnathan said:

“The aim of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce is to double the size of the local economy by the end of 2023. This is a very ambitious target and will not be achieved by half measures. To support the UK’s industrial heart and engine for growth I am asking the Chancellor for four things:

“1. We need the annual investment allowance to be kept at the current level of £500k and if not, at least reduce to a higher level than the planned drop to £25k. We need our manufacturing businesses to be able to invest in new machinery that will result in more jobs and perhaps the resilience to produce precision goods in more than one supply chain. Annual investment allowances coupled with a properly run growth fund (i.e. available through all asset based financiers) will have a transformational effect on investment and as a result, productivity.

“2. The successful growth of manufacturing in the Black Country has left us in the situation where businesses lack the competent staff needed to continue the growth. We want Tax credit incentives for manufacturing firms to take on and train young people. Not for the salary of the young person but to ensure that more experienced staff can spend the time they need to train the young people to the required level of competency. Businesses trying to address their competency gaps struggle because of the loss in productivity that training programmes entail. Understanding that this productivity loss needs to be compensated will be a major step forward in the investment in skills in the region.

“3. The Black Country’s business base needs to assert itself globally and we need to encourage small companies to explore export markets. We are not talking about meaninglessly small sums of money but say, 50% of the cost of attending an overseas trade mission. We know that the resulting increase in turnover and profits will mean that the cost of such a programme would be marginal.

“4. We think that these small changes will reap great benefits for small businesses across the Black Country. Our small business owners are taking on significant financial risks, often with very poor support from the lending systems that are supposed to be helping. We ask that the Chancellor looks at addressing what is in reality a 60% tax rate on our entrepreneurs: the people who are really leading the growth of the Black Country.”

As a final comment on the budget and the threat of tax raising measures, Johnathan Dudley said: “If people are considering paying dividends they really need to think about doing this before the budget. It would be very easy for the chancellor to increase taxes on dividends to remove their tax benefit over paying bonuses; there is speculation over reducing the 45% tax rate but the need to raise revenues in a 'fair' way makes me wonder if the tax treatment of dividend payments could be equalised with that of salaries and bonuses."

To book a place at the Budget Briefing Event, to be held on Wednesday 8th July from 12pm to 2pm, please contact our events team. A panel discussion using participants from a range of business sectors will analyse the Chancellor’s speech and provide pointers as to its impact on the Black Country. This is a great chance to watch the budget away from your office and discuss its impact with your peers.

For more information please contact Catrin Guy in the Black Country Chamber events team on 01902912305 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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