Following the chancellor’s statement Mr Jones commented: “The emphasis on levelling up the north was welcome. Too often we see buzz words and sound bites that sound good for a short time but deliver little. Here we can see tangible projects like freeports and the green infrastructure bank that will provide a real boost for the north.”
Mr Jones continued:
I was also pleased to see specific policies providing support for our hospitality industry which underpins so many jobs in our area. That support includes extending the exemption from business rates and when the full exemption ends continuing with a two-thirds discount. Many businesses wrote to me requesting this and I am glad the government has delivered. I have met with representatives of the guest houses association, hoteliers and the convention centre since the first lockdown and have been putting that case to the Treasury.
Also continuing the furlough scheme will give those hospitality businesses space to grow their business again as lockdown eases and ends. Combining this with maintaining the VAT reduction for hospitality businesses should ease cashflow at what may be a difficult time.
Other measures in the budget included freezing fuel duty for the eleventh consecutive year, retaining the £20 COVID-19 uplift in Universal Credit for a further six months and a scheme to guarantee mortgages for first-time buyers who can only afford a five per cent deposit.