We are experiencing an unprecedented level of public spending, but that has to be in place to meet the challenge of once in a generation crisis. The headline announcements, like furlough, and investment in sectors like culture, tourism and sport are of vital importance but we need to drill down into the detail.

Businesses are making decisions today on employment and redundancies and whether they can open their doors in the next month. The question they will be asking is whether they feel confident to do so. Business rates being reintroduced in July, albeit at a reduced rate, could hit many firms right when they are opening their doors. A viable business is one that has to make sure they’re not loaded with debt and that their incomings cover their outgoings. This isn’t a budget for the long term.

There are gaps in terms of mental health for employees, of those who have fallen through the cracks in terms of business support. If cities like Liverpool are to survive we need an economic strategy that supports every sector and every layer of business and society.

In terms of the freeport announcement, we’ll be talking to our levy payers and to regional government to ensure there is connectivity and infrastructure to meet the rising demand without affecting that vital flow between the docks and the city centre.

Bill Addy
Chief Executive
Liverpool BID Company

Our BID Champions commented on the budget announcement live, see their reactions on Twitter below.

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Key highlights and main points from Rishi Sunak’s Budget 2021 Announcements:

Job protection, job creation, income support and grants

  • Extending the Coronavirus Job Support Scheme to September 2021
  • Extending the Self Employment Income Support scheme to September 2021, with 600,000 more people who filed a tax return in 2019-20 now able to claim for the first time
  • £5 billion for new Restart Grants – a one off cash grant of up to £18,000 for hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses in England
  • Extension of the Film & TV Production Restart scheme in the UK
  • Extension of the apprenticeship hiring incentive in England to September 2021 and an increase of payment to £3,000
  • £7 million for a new “flexi-job” apprenticeship programme in England, that will enable apprentices to work with a number of employers in one sector
  • Additional £126 million for 40,000 more traineeships in England, funding high quality work placements and training for 16-24 year olds in 2021/22 academic year
  • Small and medium-sized employers in the UK will continue to be able to reclaim up to two weeks of eligible Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) costs per employee from the Government
  • Extending the loss carry back rules worth up to £760,000 per company

Deferrals and business rates holiday

  • Extension to the VAT cut to 5% for hospitality, accommodation and attractions across the UK until the end of September, followed by a 12.5% rate for a further six months until 31 March 2022
  • 750,000 eligible businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England will benefit from business rates relief.

Business loans

  • A new UK-wide Recovery Loan Scheme to make available loans between £25,001 and £10 million, and asset and invoice finance between £1,000 and £10 million

Further announcements

  • Liverpool City Region awarded Freeport Status
  • Beginning April 2021, the new super-deduction will cut companies’ tax bill by 25p for every pound they invest in new equipment. This is worth around £25 billion to UK companies over the two-year period the super-deduction will be in full effect
  • The £375 million UK-wide ‘Future Fund: Breakthrough’ will invest in highly innovative companies such as those working in life sciences, quantum computing, or clean tech, that are aiming to raise at least £20 million of funding
  • A new Help to Grow scheme to offer up to 130,000 companies across the UK a digital and management boost