March 2021 Budget – response from the Chamber

Nick Garthwaite, Chair of West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce said:

“We welcome the commitments to business support measures unveiled.  As we move towards being able to recover and rebuild the economy from the damage done by Covid-19, business stability and certainty will play a crucial part in that.

“We hope that the ‘levelling up’ agenda will continue, although we’re obviously delighted that Leeds will be home to the UK’s new Infrastructure Bank.  Leeds has a long history in banking and finance, being the commercial capital of Yorkshire; and the bank will have access to a deep pool of talent from across our region. Looking to the future, government investment in infrastructure will help unlock many multiples of investment from the private sector and as a Chamber we will lobby to ensure this is directed towards schemes which will help level up the UK economy.

“Overall, then, we’re pleased with the measures taken to support business continuity and recovery at this important time.”

The Chamber also commented on some specific measures.  On the furlough extension and additional business grants:

“This is good news for Yorkshire’s businesses.  We’ve always said that while there remained any kind of restrictions in place that impaired the ability to trade, business and job support needed to remain. The hospitality, leisure and tourism sector has taken a huge hit and we would hope that the Budget announcements help this sector through to re-opening. The business rates holiday and discount will also be welcomed by many.”

On the ‘super-deduction’ investment incentive, Nick added:

“We pleased that the Chancellor has listened to calls for bold incentives to encourage companies in our region to invest. Super deduction will provide a major enticement for firms to invest and grow, helping to boost productivity and the wider economic recovery.  We know there is pent-up demand in the economy and that the pandemic forced many firms into shelving investment proposals. This could prove to be a great move in encouraging them to spend on growth ambitions.”

On incentives for apprenticeships and other training schemes:

“Apprenticeships and jobs with training opportunities have been badly affected by the pandemic, particularly for young people.  We welcome this additional investment in traineeships, employer incentives and more flexible apprenticeships that will help Yorkshire businesses create more high-quality earning and learning opportunities for people and boost skills in the workplace.”