Responding to the Spring Budget 2021, Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce Managing Director Martin Hathaway said:

“Firstly, we are delighted that the furlough scheme has been extended until the end of September. Our collective voice has been heard, with the Government recognising that businesses need continued support to enable them to restart and rebuild this year, and in the future.

“The furlough scheme as well as the support for self-employed has been vital for firms and individuals to stay afloat and it is brilliant news that these schemes will be continuing. The PM’s roadmap explains how the economy will begin to open up, but the extension of this support will allow businesses and the self-employed to phase their reopening and approach it with care and caution.

“As well as extensions to the furlough scheme, we welcome the new Recovery Loan scheme which will replace the CBILS and Bounce Back Loan schemes. This new scheme will allow eligible businesses to access loans between £25k and £10m with an 80% Government guarantee which will be instrumental in kickstarting the economy.

“The announcement of the Super Deduction is a fantastic new incentive for business investment. For the next two years firms will be able to offset the cost of new equipment, with a reduced tax bill of up to 130% on their investments. This is a vital step in restarting our economy and getting Yorkshire back to work.

“The Chancellor’s promise to extend the 5% reduced VAT rate for hospitality and tourism until 30th September is incredibly beneficial to these businesses. These are the sectors worst hit by the pandemic, having been subject to lengthy closures and uncertainty.

“For areas where hospitality and tourism dominate the local economy, such as those in the Mid Yorkshire region, urgent and continued support is needed to help them revive their businesses. We must not be naive to the possibility of further restrictions should a fourth wave occur or new variants take hold.

“Another fantastic initiative announced by the Chancellor today was the doubling of grants for new apprentices. This will be incredibly beneficial in getting people on to the career ladder and providing a much-needed boost to the jobs market that we will reap the benefits of for years to come.  Young people who are school and university age have had a tough year and this will open up some great opportunities for them to gain vital skills and experience.

“We are thrilled that the first ever infrastructure bank will be based in West Yorkshire, this is great news for the region and goes hand in hand with the Treasury moving to Darlington, both big leaps in powering up the North.

“I am optimistic that this Budget will help support the PM’s roadmap as we emerge from this crisis together. We are making incredible progress with the vaccine rollout and can see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, we must not become complacent, there is still work to do before we are free from this virus.”