Businesses in London want Chancellor Rishi Sunak to prioritise greater and immediate reforms to business rates (28%) in his first Budget, according to insight from the Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking Business Barometer.
Firms also flagged the need for greater investment in apprenticeships (16%), while suggesting that the top infrastructure priority is improvements to highways and roads (64%).
London firms also say they want to see further commitment on infrastructure – with improved local stopping rail services (54%), investment or incentives to promote decarbonisation (43%) and greater airport capacity (35%) – to help boost their businesses.
Paul Evans, regional director for London at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking said, “Our research suggests that calls for infrastructure investment will remain strong. The expected delay to publication of the National Infrastructure Strategy, however, means that firms in the capital will likely be considering other strategies in their growth plans.
“London’s high streets have always been a highly competitive place to do business, and also very challenging, so the retail sector has long argued that the business rates system is in need of an overhaul. The Chancellor has the opportunity to address these concerns on Wednesday, though any fundamental reform is likely to be a long-term proposition.”
Across the UK, greater and immediate reforms to business rates (20%) was outlined as the top priority they would like to see the Chancellor commit towards, with improvements to highways and roads (35%) being the top priority for infrastructure.
The Business Barometer questions 1,200 businesses monthly and provides early signals about UK economic trends both regionally and nationwide.