'A mixed bag' - Leeds reacts to the 2021 Budget as alcohol prices drop

The people of Leeds have reacted to today's Autumn Budget with a minimum wage rise and alcohol tax change included among a host of changes.

By Alex Grant
Wednesday, 27th October 2021, 4:49 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th October 2021, 4:50 pm

Chancellor Rishi Sunak faced Parliament today as he confirmed a host of changes as part of the most anticipated Budget release in years.

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As the country continues its post-pandemic recovery businesses, employees and politicians alike were left nervously anticipating the reveal.

Today's Budget was one of the most anticipated in recent memory as the country continues its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire.

Included among a host of changes was the announcement that taxes on drinks including beer, wine and cider would be slashed in one of the most extensive changes to alcohol duty in living memory.

Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post Martin Greenhow, managing director at MOJO bar referred to the changes as 'a mixed bag'.

"The business rates relief is very welcome but is probably going to be offset by the increase to the minimum wage." he explained. "The Chancellor also hinted that we may see a rise in interest rates and we like most businesses have debts and any increase would be an impediment to us. He giveth and he taketh away."

Confirmed as part of the Budget was the announced increase to the National Minimum Wage for all over the age of 23 with hourly pay rates set to increase from £8.91 to £9.50 an hour.

Martin Greenhow, managing director at MOJO bar, has referred to the changes as 'a mixed bag'. Picture: Gary Longbottom.

For young workers however the increase was mixed in with the announcement that students will be expected to repay loans faster.

In a move to lower the threshold at which students loans are repaid, repayments are to be applied once an individual earns £23,000 rather than the current rate of £27,295. This step is expected to save the Treasury about £2bn a year.

Isabella Miller, 22, a postgraduate student at Leeds Beckett said: "Student debt is a major worry of mine. When I first heard the speculation regarding graduates being asked to pay back

student loans earlier, as well as the threshold for repayment being lowered, it did cause me concern.

West Yorkshire's Mayor, Tracy Brabin has been left diappointed as the Government once again failed to update on the Eastern leg of the HS2. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire.

"On the bright side, I love a glass of prosecco, so if the rumours about reducing the premium on sparkling wine are true, that’s a plus."

For fellow student Tamzin Kraftman it feels as if they are being 'tricked': "Whilst the rise in minimum wage is shown to help younger people out of education, as well as the improvements to universal credit," she said "With the lowering of the student loan repayment threshold, it feels as if we are being tricked into thinking we are getting more, when we end up with less."

Further to a rise in minimum wage and an alcohol tax overhaul the Government continued its push to remove unsafe cladding from high risk buildings as part of a near £24bn housing spend as well as a push for more affordable housing.

Mark Manning, managing director at Leeds-based estate agency group, Manning Stainton welcomed the news but asked that the Government release more information on other areas of pledged investment: "Whilst I welcome the Government’s commitment to building more homes on brownfield sites, we’re yet to see the detail about the types of houses that will be built." he said "The UK has a chronic shortage of affordable housing, and we urgently need the Government to put firm plans in place to ensure more homes are built for people on low incomes and first-time-buyers."

One noticeable omission was once again the much discussed Eastern leg of the HS2 rail upgrade with West Yorkshire's Mayor, Tracy Brabin expressing her disappointment: "The Integrated Rail Plan was a glaring and disappointing omission." she said "For working families in West Yorkshire, today has, sadly, made very little difference where it matters most. Their pocket and their prospects.

"The time for talk is over. It is time to deliver.”

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