‘Let the people decide’: Business leaders respond to Hunt’s emergency declaration

Business leaders in the East Midlands responded to Jeremy Hunt’s declaration of emergency with a mixture of dismay, frustration and bewilderment after the Chancellor set the country on a markedly different economic path than that promised by Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng less than a month ago. .

Hunt brushed aside nearly all of the unfunded tax cuts announced in the September 21 mini-budget and outlined a series of measures from the economic plan that he plans to unveil in full on October 31.

You can read more about his projects here.

East Midlands House boss Scott Knowles said: ‘Having two very different mini-Budgets, underpinned by opposing ideologies, in a matter of weeks is an unprecedented situation for our country and this cycle relentless uncertainty is crippling our economy.

“This creates a zero-trust environment which affects the ability of businesses to plan definitively, which in turn has a negative impact on investment in growth and jobs – which will be of concern to our region given that the rate of Unemployment has risen over the past two months, but from a record high.

“Keeping the pledge to cut National Insurance will be welcomed by businesses, but the rollback of almost all other measures on taxes paid by businesses will be extremely worrying when we face a crisis in the cost of the conduct of business. A significant reduction in the energy price guarantee is of particular concern as it will affect both companies and their employees.

Kevin Drew, managing director of Derby-based Ascentant Accountancy, said: “On Monday morning it was reported that 50,000 SMEs in London had collapsed according to ONS figures, while the Insolvency Service reported insolvencies at an eight-year high.

“With supply chain issues, the cost of living crisis and rising energy bills, now is the time for businesses to really look ahead and plan a survival strategy, if ensure they have working capital and make forecasts for their future.

“With the constant change in tax announcements, we cannot advise our clients with certainty on tax planning or best practices to ensure they survive the next 12 months. We fear this is the start, not the peak, further business insolvencies and lost jobs.”

Anil Mistry, director of Leicester-based RNR Mortgage Solutions, said: “Hunt came to reality and realized that the tax cuts in the mini budget were simply not feasible. Hopefully this will bring confidence and stability to the UK markets and the weak pound.It will be interesting to see how long Liz Truss lasts as this announcement has destroyed her credibility.

Lewis Shaw, founder of Mansfield-based Shaw Financial Services, said: “Trusonomics has proven to be a silly experiment perpetuated by talking heads at think tanks such as the IEA. As a result of this, Liz is now PM in name only; she is in power but not in power.

“We have more instability to come as conservatives try to wrestle with their internal ideologies fractured between libertarian supporters of the ultra-free market and the moderate side, of which little remains. Nevertheless, we know that we are going to have a new Prime Minister, and behind the scenes, the 1922 committee will be absent to work out the mechanisms.

“If anyone knows that a time machine is available so we can go back to 2015 and have the chaos with Ed Miliband rather than the strength and stability that David Cameron perpetuated, that would be great.”

Debbie Porter, Managing Director of Bakewell-based Destination Digital Marketing, said: ‘You have to hand it to the politicians, they are as patient as a cat staring at a mouse hole. Hunt lost in his leadership bid to Johnson, and Sunak lost to Truss. They now lead from behind to maneuver themselves into positions they feel are rightfully theirs in the first place. And why not? The Tories have had more leadership changes than Lady Gaga changing her costume at a concert. Everyone will get their turn if they wait long enough. It’s almost as if the country they serve is irrelevant as they focus on the highest position.

Eddie Young of Burton-based Misterey Entertainment added: “There are more donuts in this administration than there are at Krispy Kreme headquarters. Just call a general election and let the people decide who runs this country. And I guess the current batch will perform the ultimate disappearing act.

Politicians were also quick to react to the news.

In a social media post, Ben Bradley MP, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, said the announcement “effectively makes[ed] all the political fallout, criticism, poll diving, etc. of the last few weeks are totally useless.

He added that the government was “right where [it] started, just much less popular than before.

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