Budget 2021: West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce's asks for Chancellor Rishi Sunak

Chancellor Rishi Sunak reveals his 2021 budget today (Wednesday) - here Mark Goldstone from the West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce outlines what they would like to see announced

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 6:00 am

As we emerge from the biggest economic crisis in peacetime there will undoubtedly be many asks of the Chancellor in this week’s budget statement.

With the vaccine roll out and the announcement by the Prime Minister, setting out a roadmap to recovery we can see the next stage of the journey towards economic recovery.

However the Chamber believes strongly that the priority of the 2021 budget should be to set out a comprehensive plan to support business cash flow and jobs throughout this year whilst providing longer-term measures to support recovery across the UK.

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Mark Goldstone.

Cash strapped businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors should continue to benefit from the business rates discount into the next financial year.

We believe that this initiative needs to be extended beyond these sectors to those firms whose financial activities have been severely impaired by restrictions.

The furlough scheme should also be extended until the economy is fully able to reopen and at least until the end of July in order to avoid another cliff edge ending of support in April.

Beyond the immediate support needed we feel that further measures aimed at boosting business investment should be included.

Leeds city centre.

Our suggestions include expanding the £1 million annual investment allowance to include investments in staff training and investments to help businesses on their journey towards a net-zero future.

Extension of VAT deferral until the end of 2021 along with the removal of plant and machinery from the valuation of property for business rates purposes from 2022 would also help.

A more thorough review of the business rates mechanism is badly needed however, this has been promised by this Government and we look forward to seeing this progress.

Support for businesses as they navigate through the new trading arrangements with the EU is also needed and we suggest this could come in the form of a SME Brexit tax credit.

Whilst firms will acknowledge the need to balance the UK ‘books’ we do need to see delivery on promises made to level up the UK economy.

With borrowing at historically low levels now is the time to improve the region’s creaking infrastructure.

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