Commenting on the Budget, Jasmine Whitbread, Chief Executive of London First, said:
“The Chancellor has provided a shot in the arm to businesses with a big package of support which will mean many more will be able to stagger to the finish line of lockdown ending.
“Firms will breathe a huge sigh of relief at the extension of furlough, business rates and VAT relief, which will help keep them afloat and more people in jobs. While there will be disappointment at the big rise in Corporation Tax, delaying this to 2023 is right to avoid choking the recovery before it’s started.
“With the end of lockdown now in sight, we need crystal clear messaging around the safe return to workplaces with the Mayor and Government speaking with one voice. Given the central role London will play in supporting the UK recovery, there needs to be a plan to ensure the transport network is properly funded and a PR blitz to get people back into the city – starting with workers, domestic tourists and overseas visitors.”
“London has been hit hard by the pandemic, and its unemployment rate is the highest in the country so boosting the incentives for apprenticeships will help those looking to invest in their staff, but this needs to go hand in hand with a significant reskilling programme to support those who have already lost their jobs.”
Restart grants for shops and restaurants:
“The Government is right to provide more support for retailers and those in hospitality, who have been hit hard by repeated lockdowns and will be among the last to reopen their doors. This will be a lifeline for many, but retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in London have much higher costs, so the Restart grants need to take that into account.”
“While the stamp duty holiday has kept the housing market alive during the pandemic, the cut off at the end of March threatened to derail chains across the country. An extension to June 30 for those in the process is good news in the short term, but the Treasury should relook at the stamp duty thresholds to make them more balanced in the long term.”
Super deduction for business investment:
“Creating a 130% capital allowance for investment in machinery is a big win for firms who wish upgrade their premises, and will provide a boost for business confidence.”
Free port announcement for Tilbury and London Gateway:
“The creation of a free port in London is a show of confidence in the capital as one of the best places in the world to do business, and will bring jobs and growth to the local economy.”