It’s been an incredible period of instability

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The times they are uncertain, says CEO Ian Girling, as he looks to the new government to bring forward a considered and sustainable plan

Hello and a warm welcome to my October column – I’m hoping this finds you well.
As I write this column, I’m reflecting on what unpredictable and strange times we are living in. We’ve seen Boris leave No 10 and just two days after Liz Truss met the Queen to agree to form a new Government, Her Majesty passed away. Prince Charles is now King Charles III. While the passing of the Queen was – and remains – incredibly sad, we marked her funeral and the King coming to the throne with magnificent ceremony. I am sure we will never see again.
Since announcing the referendum in 2016, we have left the European Union, have had four Prime Ministers, experienced a global pandemic, witnessed Russia invade Ukraine and seen the passing of our Queen after 70 years on the throne. It has, and continues to be, a unique period of uncertainty – and a very challenging time for businesses.

Constant challenges
We continue to see rocketing energy prices (although the six-month price cap will offer some relief), soaring inflation, rising interest rates and a general cost of living crisis. The new Government came charging off the start line with the mini budget on 23rd September with a radical and bold range of new policies designed to inject confidence and growth into the economy.
Since then, we’ve seen a U-turn on the plan to cut the 45p tax rate for those earning more than £150,000 – just a day after Liz Truss pledged the Government would stick with this policy. We’ve also seen the value of the pound plummet following the mini budget, and today’s news is that Liz Truss is facing mounting anger from within her own party over her refusal to commit to increasing benefits in line with inflation.
Our response to the budget was positive – but cautiously so. We were pleased to see the reversal of plans to increase corporation tax and national insurance, something the British Chambers of Commerce have been very vocal on.
We recognise that the Government clearly needs to act in response to the very challenging economic climate but it’s vital that we have a well-considered and sustainable plan for economic recovery.

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