THE head of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce, Stephen Henagulph, has given his support for today’s Budget, with extensions to furlough, Business Rates Relief and VAT reductions to help struggling firms both restart and rebuild.
The Chancellor also announced a ‘super deduction’ investment incentive over the next two years to encourage businesses to invest and grow.
Mr Henagulph, the Chamber CEO, said: “This is very much a business-focused Budget. We have seen the extension of the furlough scheme through to September to enable employers to get businesses back on their feet and the continued reduction in VAT to 5% for businesses in the hospitality industry that have been hardest hit in our region.
“There are big new incentives for investment, lower tax rates for the smallest firms and I’m delighted to see the extension of Coronavirus support measures and grants for businesses in the short term.
“Slightly less good news was that Avonmouth did not receive one of the eight Freeport designations in the UK, although I’m delighted for the South West as it was confirmed that Plymouth has been allocated a Freeport allocation.
“It was also a little bit disappointing that the geography still seems to be slightly biased to the north as there was no mention of the South West, other than the Freeport.
“New initiatives are being centred in Leeds and Darlington and when the Chancellor talked about wind and tide power, he gave the example in Scotland, yet we know in Cornwall there are some fantastic projects leading the way in autonomous marine.
“Overall, though, there are some really positive noises coming back from businesses already that this is a Budget that will encourage and support them to grow – and to grow sustainably – in the coming years. Even the dreaded tax side of things in terms of Capital Gains Tax won’t come into effect until 2023.
“Somerset Chamber of Commerce welcomes the Chancellor’s Budget today and the effective number of measures to kickstart our businesses back post-lockdown.
“It was a Budget that provides them with reassurance and if there are unexpected bumps in the road, the Chamber network will be here to lobby for more support and more action until the economy is back firing on all cylinders again.”