Hertfordshire Chamber Chief Executive, Yolanda Rugg, says in response to the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s presentation of his Spring Budget:

“As you know, we’ve been campaigning long and hard for business rate respite, particularly in light of the business rates revaluation this year.

“We are thankful that the Chancellor offers some relief, and we ask local councils now to place the new funding into circulation to relieve to our hardest-hit businesses. This must be a priority.”

“Of course it’s not enough; there has to be grass-roots reform of the business property rates system. We shall continue agitating for this as businesses, small and large, already have newly imposed pensions auto-enrolment and Apprenticeship Levy (on businesses with a pay bill in excess of £3 million) commitments,” said Yolanda Rugg.

“It’s encouraging that Government is focused on employability, particularly in regard to school education technical skills and the proposed T-levels, and those returning to the workplace after a family break absence, where childcare and reskilling are important issues.”

Yolanda Rugg says that approximately 75 per cent of Hertfordshire businesses are small, owner-managed or sole trading businesses and includes many self-employed people. The National Insurance Contributions (NICs) imposition (2018) of a two per cent increase to make it more equitable with employee contribution doesn’t recognise their business risks. Sole traders and self-employed people don’t get paid when they’re unable to generate income because of events such as illness, family crises or even an annual holiday. They bear business risks that employees don’t. This move is disappointing,” said Yolanda.