UK’s post-Brexit budget closely followed by industry, business leaders

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In just three weeks, Britain’s new Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak will make one of the most anticipated speeches in the country’s political calendar, the budget for the new fiscal tax year starting in April.

The budget will be unveiled on March 11 as planned, said Sunak Tuesday, who was appointed last week following the resignation of his predecessor Sajid Javid in a cabinet reshuffle.

According to the English newspaper The Times, Sunak is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Boris Johnson Wednesday for further talks about the budget.

As Britain’s first post-Brexit budget, it is followed closely by leaders of industry, financiers, economists as well as the public.

Britain’s main business organization, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has already made its contribution to the budget process.

“At the start of this new decade, firms are feeling more optimistic and want to invest. This historic budget offers the chance to turn rising optimism into a surge in investment across the UK. Backed by a pro-enterprise budget for skills, infrastructure and innovation, business can help kick-start a new decade of UK growth and job creation,” said its Director General Carolyn Fairbairn.

“It will put the UK on track to lead the world in innovation, clean growth and the industries of the future, from AI and robotics to agri-tech and life sciences,” said Fairbairn.

The CBI’s budget suggestions include a comprehensive review of Britain’s business rates system which it says puts many parts of the country’s economy at a competitive disadvantage.

A number of popular brand names have disappeared from British high streets last year, blaming their departures on high rates and on-line shopping.

A joint letter to the chancellor signed this week by 50 leading retailers, ranging from supermarket store chain Asda to posh clothes shop Harvey Nichols, called for reforms to business rates in the budget.

The CBI also wants the chancellor to unlock capacity and transport connections across northern England, and to allocate funds to a wide range of strategic infrastructure projects, including the Midlands Engine Rail, the East Coast Main Line and Crossrail.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), which holds its annual meeting just days before the budget is revealed, said Tuesday that latest figures show employment levels in Britain are continuing to rise despite a stalling economy, with strong headline figures underlying concerns.

“The budget must seize the opportunity to spark growth,” said the BCC. Enditem

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