Businesses in Wales want Chancellor Rishi Sunak to prioritise road improvements as part of any promises made around infrastructure investment in his first Budget, according to insight from the Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking Business Barometer.

Almost two-thirds (63%) of firms in the region say they want to see a further commitment to improve highways and roads, while close to half (48%) feel improved local rail services would help boost their businesses. In addition, two in every five (41%) businesses would like to see greater devolved powers to better enable city regions to run their own transport routes.

Speaking more widely about the Chancellor’s plans, firms were also keen to see reform of business rates (18%) and greater investment in apprenticeships (11%).
Amanda Dorel, regional director at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said:

“Today’s Budget has the potential to provide a significant boost to the Welsh economy and the impact of the recent flooding could well be a factor as to why firms in Wales are hoping that infrastructure is at the forefront.

“While better connectivity is key, it’s also important that Welsh businesses have the resources to facilitate long-term growth. As such, we anticipate lending up to £1.1billion to businesses in Wales this year, including via our Clean Growth Finance Initiative.”

Across the UK, immediate reforms to business rates were at the top of firms’ wish list for the Chancellor, with highways and roads 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.