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Spring budget loses sight of the future economy we need

As the nation prepares to exit the European Union, Chancellor Philip Hammond looks to prepare the nation’s finances and minimise any economic uncertainty. Today’s spring budget is an indication that the treasury is proceeding cautiously and, with no radical new spending measures or programmes announced, the twin themes of this financial approach seem to be ‘all hands on deck’ and ‘steady as she goes’.

While this approach may do its part in calming the markets, it perhaps misses an opportunity to broaden our economic base and strengthen sectors that could act as a stabilising factor in the coming months and years. We need an economy that is both equitable and sustainable, and we need to support the small businesses and innovators that can make this economy a reality.

What we need is a long-term, future-orientated strategy that will build an economy for all generations.

Bevis Watts

In response to the Spring Budget, Triodos Bank had the following comments:

On energy infrastructure:

Bevis Watts, managing director at Triodos Bank, said: “It is unfortunate that this budget continues to place our economic future on carbon-based assets. Today the Chancellor announced continued support for the exploitation of North Sea oil, when even the governor of the Bank of England has warned that in a future low-carbon economy these assets will be worthless. What we need is a long-term, future-orientated strategy that invests in sustainable technologies and systems that will build an economy for all generations. That’s why we’re working with local energy providers like Bristol Energy Co-op—to build the infrastructure that will put people and planet first”

On business rates:

Rebecca Pritchard, head of business banking at Triodos Bank, said: “The current system of business rates places an unfair burden on small and independent businesses on the high street, in favour of large, out of town chains. Our high streets are our community and economic hubs: their vitality and growth is essential to the health of our cities and communities. At Triodos, we choose to work with local independent retailers because we know that when they thrive, we all do. While we are glad that the government is providing transitional relief to rising business rates, we believe that this proposal doesn’t address the heart of the problem, which is that business rates should be based on turnover rather than property value.”

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