Responding to the Budget 2021 set out by the Chancellor today Cllr Andrew Waller, Liberal Democrat Executive Member for Economy and Strategic Planning, commented:
“Whilst the Chancellor has answered many of the calls made by businesses, from furlough extension and VAT cut to a new grants scheme, these measures must not be a kneejerk reaction but rather underpin a wider long term plan to support local economies and jobs.
“Limited extensions, whilst welcome in the short term, still put businesses and residents in a position where they are facing a cliff edge for when this vital support will be unilaterally withdrawn. Furlough, the VAT cut and business rate holiday must be continued until the end of the year with a gradual phasing out rather than a cut-off date at the time when most hospitality and retail business will only be beginning to recover.
“As always, we await further details on today’s announcements. Undoubtedly, local Councils will be left in the dark speculating about the precise guidance surrounding the new plans for the coming days and weeks, as has been the case previously. Crucially for our city, the new grants are welcome news and we sincerely hope that these will be universal and government guidance will not tie the hands of local councils once again in eligibility criteria and other demands.
“The amount of discretionary grant funding provided to support firms in the supply chain only amounts to five per cent of the total. This will make it difficult for the Council to provide the necessary level of support to those businesses struggling. The amount of ARG funding needs to increase to match to address the real extent of local need. We need clear and urgent guidance so we can ensure that Council officers can continue to distribute support as soon as they reach the Council.
“We will be awaiting further information on how today’s plans are expected to be implemented, and until then we will continue to work with the city’s businesses and partners to ensure that all is done to protect livelihoods and jobs people across York.”