Rishi Sunak said coronavirus has caused one of the “largest, most comprehensive and sustained economic shocks this country has ever faced”. He added that the measures to support the economy amounted to £65 billion over this year and next, taking the total Government support to £407 billion over that period. Here are the businesses in Leeds that will be welcoming this extra help which was unveiled in the 2021 Budget:
The Government will continue to fund 80 per cent of the wages of furloughed staff, but businesses will be asked to fork out 10 per cent of the sum in July, rising to 20 per cent in August and September. Dale Wynter, co-owner of popular Leeds restaurants The Beehive and Chophaus, supports the extension of the furlough scheme to the end of September. He said: “If we’re trading, I think it’s fair for us to contribute. The Government has supported us well overall. “We’re looking at opening with a reduced rota so we don't have as many managers in, making sure they work within a flexible furlough scenario. "As trade pics up, we can reduce that and open up more. It almost transitions us, rather than just putting everybody back on the payroll and expecting it to be just as it was.” Co-owners of Chophaus restaurant (left to right) Marcel Leader, Chris Walsh, Dale Wynter and Yarl Christie
2. Non-essential shops
The business rates holiday for the retail sector will continue until the end of June, and will be discounted by two thirds for the remaining nine months of the year. The contactless payment limit will increase to £100. The banking industry will implement the new £100 limit later this year. This could make payments more convenient for some shoppers and the Government says it will help boost the retail sector.
The 5% reduced rate of VAT for the tourism and hospitality sector will be extended for six months to the end of September, with an interim rate of 12.5% for another six months after that. The founder of Tattu restaurants, Adam Jones, said the Budget announcements were a positive "step in the right direction" but called for VAT relief to be extended in full for 12 months. Due to local and national lockdowns, the chain's Leeds restaurant has been closed for six out of the nine months of the scheme being in place. Adam said: “Continuing the VAT reduction is absolutely the right decision for businesses to be able to properly benefit from its intended purpose, and will undoubtedly have a positive impact for many operators."
The package includes a new cash 'restart grant' which will start in April to help businesses reopen, with £5billion of funding awarded to businesses. Personal care businesses, such as hairdressers, are eligible for the higher rate of the grant - up to £18,000. Louise Howard-Long, owner of Architect Hair Salon in Headingley, welcomed the restart grants, which she said were "lovely news" for the sector.