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Jennie Johnson
Steve Purdham
Tony Caldeira
Brian Hay
Charlie Mullins
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Julie Meyer
Michael Oliver
David Pollock
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Richard O'Sullivan
Debbie Pierce

CBI: Autumn Statement to boost business confidence 'in all corners of UK'

The Autumn Statement will help businesses "in all corners of the UK" to invest with greater confidence in the long term during turbulent times, the CBI has said.

Director-general Carolyn Fairburn praised Chancellor Philip Hammond's emphasis on R&D, housing and local infrastructure as a "down payment on future productivity growth".

The statement included a £23bn National Productivity Investment Fund, an extra £2bn a year for R&D by 2020-21 and a £2.3bn Housing Infrastructure Fund to support the delivery of up to 100,000 homes.

"These measures must now be translated into action," said Fairburn.

"That means tarmac, tracks and telecoms being laid, and clear, deliverable timetables for major projects - only then will they act as a catalyst for investment, jobs and growth.

On business rates, the CBI welcomed action on transitional relief, include relief on investment in new full-fibre broadband infrastructure, but said retailers and manufacturers will be disappointed by the Chancellor's "limited moves"' to address the growing overall burden of business rates.

The statement included £1.1bn to improve local roads and £220m to tackle traffic "pinch points".

"Seventy-three per cent of all businesses see tackling road congestion as important," Fairburn said.

"Therefore further investment in local road networks, in particular congestion 'pinch points', will help improve productivity by reducing the time spent in traffic jams. We know that widening labour market access by improving travel times to work has a real impact on local productivity."

Other announcements included a rise in the National Living Wage from £7.20 to £7.50 from next April.

"Businesses want to see a rising minimum wage that protects the low paid, but increases must also be sustainable for employers if we are to avoid damage to job prospects for lower skilled workers," Fairburn said.

"By accepting the recommendation of the independent Low Pay Commission, the Chancellor has shown he also supports this balance. In the face of economic uncertainty, relying on the expert guidance of the LPC is the right call - and we welcome the Commission's statement that it will continue to be guided by performance on jobs, alongside any political targets, in setting the rate."

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