GEORGE OSBORNE’S Autumn Statement comes at the halfway point of the Coalition’s term in office as pressure is mounting on the Chancellor to inject sustainable growth into the economy.

Despite embarking on the sharpest spending cuts in living memory, Government borrowing continues to rise. The region is braced for more tough measures as Mr Osborne shows no signs of ending his austerity drive.

Among items on the wish lists of businesses in our region are for the Chancellor to cut air passenger duty, scrap the planned 3p rise in fuel duty, and set aside cash for small-scale infrastructure projects.

Loading article content

Neil Stephenson, chief executive of Stockton-based Onyx Group, said: “There have been calls for the Chancellor to abandon his golden rule on cutting debt which was designed to ensure that debt falls as a percentage of GDP by 2015-16.

“I think that the deficit reduction is crucial, we must rebalance our economy and do so as soon as practically possible. This is a key aim and businesses understand and get comfort from this policy.

“We have built our economy of late by a reckless pursuit of growth via spending and borrowing and this has come home to roost.

“It has been suggested that we are likely to hear more about the business bank of £1bn announced by Vince Cable earlier this year and designed to specifically lend more money to small and medium-sized businesses. On top of this, the Chancellor is under pressure to come up with steps to encourage growth, as although figures from the Office of National In tomorrow’s Jobs & Business supplement, firms and organisations from across the region tell Chancellor George Osborne what he should include in his Autumn Statement.

Statistics showed that the economy grew one per cent in the third quarter, there are concerns that once one-off factors such as the Olympics lose their impact, the economy could contract again in the final quarter.

“I am a strong believer that growth is the key to progress – we need to find ways to encourage entrepreneurs and businesses to invest and this must be at the heart of the debate.

We all accept that there are no silver bullets, life is tough and instead of waiting for the storm to pass we need to learn to dance in the rain!

Less red tape and bureaucracy, more incentives to invest, less restrictive employment laws and a visible and believable growth plan are needed.”