Business confidence is a real issue across every sector and what we are desperate for is a reduction in the harm economic headwinds have done to businesses and their ability to invest. There is some good news for some sectors in this Budget but on the whole the lack of support for some of those calling for the most amount of support is glaring in its omission.

Investment in the city’s life sciences is good news as this benefits all aspects of the city, especially in terms of attracting those who want to do business in Liverpool. Growth attracts supply chains, and those who want to work and invest in particular specialisms. 

The relief for cultural venues is very welcome for our venues. Making the Theatre Tax Relief permanent helps our city’s theatres to continue to invest in their groundbreaking cultural programmes and as venues that contribute to the vital life of our city economy and visitor economy. 

Supporting our wider creative industries – particularly film and vfx, a key part of Liverpool’s economy – is welcomed. 

A tax on Airbnbs is good news for our vibrant hotel and serviced accommodation sector. This benefits our visitor economy. 

The continued freeze on alcohol duty is welcome news for pubs, bars and restaurants, struggling with increased bills. 

The VAT Registration Threshold increasing from £85,000 to £90,000 is good news for small businesses and independent businesses. 

It is worth saying that it is what isn’t here rather than what is which causes concern. Business Rates Relief ends soons and there is no change in VAT for businesses over that £90k threshold. It does make you fear for our high streets because you worry more closures are to come. 

We have been campaigning, along with the Association of International Retail, to see the return of tax-free international shopping in this Budget, which we are disappointed to see has not happened. This would have seen a direct impact on the economy of our city centre, seeing more money being spent by visitors from overseas. 

For our retail and leisure industries,  consumer confidence is all important. People need to feel they have money in their pockets to spend on the high street. Is there enough here to make them feel they can treat themselves and their family, going out for dinner or a show? Will that cut in National Insurance, balanced alongside the other household bills that are increasing, make people feel they have more to spend?

– Julie Johnson, Chair of Culture & Commerce BID & Business Operations Partner at Morecrofts LLP