SHROPSHIRE business leaders are urging Chancellor Rishi Sunak to address a growing ‘cost of doing business crisis’ when he delivers his spring budget statement this month.

The county's Chamber of Commerce is is calling for a delay in the proposed National Insurance rise and a commitment to no further policy measures that will increase costs for business for the remainder of the current parliament.

The chamber’s comments come amid growing fears that the UK could be pushed into a recession by the economic fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Ruth Ross, Shropshire Chamber director of business, said: “The latest GDP figures showed a strong rebound of productivity in January as the impact of Omicron started to ease.

“But this has been pushed into the background by a growing cost-of-doing-business crisis, with rising inflation and massive concerns over the future price of fuel – all of which are putting pressure on businesses to have to increase their prices.

“The chamber network believes that raising interest rates and taxes at this time would weaken growth prospects by undermining confidence and diminishing the finances of both families, and businesses.”

Suren Thiru, head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce, added: “The UK’s economy could stall in the near term as rising inflation, soaring energy bills and higher taxes increasingly drag on activity.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has increased the risk of a recession in the UK by exacerbating the already acute inflationary squeeze on consumers and businesses and derailing the supply of critical commodities to many sectors of the economy.”