Chamber CEO reacts to spending review

A27 at Lancing

A27 at Lancing

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“FEW positives” can be taken from last week’s spending review from a business perspective, a chamber of commerce CEO has said.

Tina Tilley, of Worthing and Adur Chamber of Commerce, was unimpressed by chancellor George Osbourne’s speech, and believed it “lacked meat”.

Mrs Tilley said there were a few positives to be taken out of the review, but potentially promising proposals such as improvements to infrastructure were not as good as they seemed.

She said: “In terms of infrastructure, there were no exciting plans for the A27, just plans which had already been discussed.

“We need the infrastructure changes, as they are important, but we need them quickly – not just things that were in the pipeline already.”

Mrs Tilley added that as far as she could see, there was very little to encourage new start-ups and smaller businesses.

She said: “It’s disappointing there was not more funding for start-up, small and medium businesses – how are they going to grow and diversify?”

Mrs Tilley was more encouraged by investment in areas such as transport, education and science, however.

She said: “There will be investment in areas like transport, export support, science, education, innovation and defence procurement, which are of great importance to companies of all sizes.

“We also now have more local control of growth funding but it is not easy to fill the criteria for it.”

John Allan, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, also welcomed investment in education, as he believed business owners were coming increasingly dissatisfied with education standards.

He said: “The investment in strengthening the skills base in the long term is welcomed by the FSB.

“Indeed, maintaining funding for apprenticeships for those 19 and over, and reforming the system to allow businesses to have more involvement is good news.

“However, time must be taken to get these reforms right and piloting any new system is crucial.”