More could have been done to help South Yorkshire - response to budget

CAUTIOUS WELCOME: To Jeremy Hunt's spring budgetCAUTIOUS WELCOME: To Jeremy Hunt's spring budget
CAUTIOUS WELCOME: To Jeremy Hunt's spring budget
CHANCELLOR Jeremy Hunt’s spring budget received a muted response from South Yorkshire business groups today.

Mr Hunt cut workers’ National Insurance by 2p and increased the child benefit threshold from £50,000 to £60,000, as well as increasing the VAT threshold for small businesses to £90,000. He also announced higher taxes on vapes and business class flights

Responding to the chancellor’s statement, Carrie Sudbury, chief executive of Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber, said: “Today’s budget clearly recognised that the government needs to do more to help businesses across the UK to prosper.

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“Cuts to the headline National Insurance rates, the first increase in the VAT threshold since 2017, as well as new planned incentives to encourage business investment could all play their part in helping to stimulate Britain’s struggling economy.

“Further details were published today about the South Yorkshire Investment Zone, with plans announced to expand Rotherham’s Advanced Manufacturing park, as well as new schemes currently in development for Barnsley.

"The £50m investment will help to attract new high skilled jobs into the region, however, the chancellor must recognise that in terms of output and productivity, South Yorkshire’s local economy continues to lag behind the national average and I would have liked to have seen more measures announced to help businesses in the region to overcome the many challenges they are currently facing.

“The freezing of alcohol duty, reduction in National Insurance, as well as increasing the VAT threshold are all likely to help some of the region’s smallest businesses, particularly those operating in the hospitality industry, whilst the decision to extend tax deductible incentives to businesses investing in research and development will help many to harness new and emerging technologies.”

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South Yorkshire’s Mayor Oliver Coppard said: “Last week, alongside mayors from across the country I wrote to the government and asked them to change their approach and protect the Household Support Fund. I’m glad that today the chancellor has listened, albeit only guaranteeing that support for another six months. That’s a sticking plaster not a long-term cure.

“Listening to the chancellor you wouldn’t think families are struggling across South Yorkshire, or that local government is on its knees. £8 a week back in people’s pockets is not going to fix the system wide problems we face here, or as a country.

“The long-term solution has to be good growth; that’s our plan. But under this government, the economy has experienced the longest decline since records began. Growth per person has now fallen continuously for two years.”