Stuart has today welcomed the 2021 Budget, which delivers on the Government's promise to do whatever it takes to provide security and stability with over £407 billion of support for families, jobs and businesses over this year and the next.
Despite this unprecedented support, we have understandably seen significant damage to our economy throughout this pandemic, with 700,000 people losing their jobs since March 2020, the economy shrinking by 10 per cent – the largest fall on record – and our borrowing at the highest it has ever been outside of wartime.
That said, the IMF, Bank of England and OBR have all confirmed that our plan is working, and that as a result of interventions, unemployment is now estimated to peak at far lower levels than previously expected, and our economy is now forecast to recover faster than previously thought as well.
The Chancellor has therefore set out his three-point plan on how the Government will protect jobs and livelihoods as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic:
1. Supporting people and businesses through this crisis
- Extending furlough until the end of September
- Two further grants for the self-employed – and bringing in 19/20 starters
- Restart grants of up to £18,000 to get our retail, hospitality, leisure and personal care businesses going again
- Business rates holiday extended for 3 months, before tapering for another 9
- Extending the VAT cut to 5 per cent for a further six months, before tapering for another six
- Continuing our stamp duty cut for another three months, before tapering for another three
- Extending Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits by six months
- More money for apprenticeships and traineeships
- New Recovery Loans to replace our existing loan schemes
- £700 million for arts, culture and sports
- A brand new 95 per cent mortgage guarantee for prospective homebuyers
2. Beginning to fix the public finances
- Asking the largest, most profitable firms to pay more in two years’ time by increasing corporation tax to 25 per cent – while still being the lowest in the G7, and the fifth lowest in the G20
- But ALSO an unprecedented Super Deduction on capital investment for companies – a £25 billion tax cut
- Maintaining personal tax allowances at their current levels from April 2023 until 2026
- Keeping inheritance, capital gains and pensions lifetime allowances & the VAT threshold at current levels
- Keeping our manifesto pledge with NO increases to income tax, NICs or VAT
- Freezing alcohol duty and fuel duty
3. Building our future economy
- 45 new Town Deals worth £1 billion, including Workington, Ipswich, Southport, Wakefield and Whitby
- Moving Treasury North to Darlington
- Launching our £150 million Community Ownership Fund
- Announcing the locations of our eight freeports in England
- Launching the first ever UK Infrastructure Bank in Leeds to invest in infrastructure and drive green growth
- Opening bidding for the Levelling Up Fund (with capacity funding) and the UK Community Renewal Fund
- Help to Grow to boost the productivity of our small businesses
- Visa reforms to attract highly-skilled migrants to the UK
- Green initiatives: a new retail bond, offshore wind funding, and new carbon markets
- Future Fund Breakthrough to fund high growth companies, and ambitious reforms to IPO listings
- Funding energy projects in Scotland and rail infrastructure in Wales
Further information on how the Government are supporting Yorkshire and the Humber is below:
Supporting households in Yorkshire and the Humber:
- Up to 425,000 households in the Yorkshire and the Humber will benefit from the continuation of the £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit until October. This will be worth £500 over six months. We are also making a one-off payment of £500 to eligible Working Tax Credits claimants, to provide additional support over the next six months. Around 145,000 households in Yorkshire and the Humber will be eligible to benefit from this.
- The Mortgage Guarantee Scheme will help home buyers with smaller deposits across the UK to buy their own home.
- The 77 per cent of households in Yorkshire and the Humber who on a car will benefit from a fuel duty freeze.
Yorkshire and the Humber will benefit from targeted support for local priorities:
- Announcing the locations of eight freeports in England, including Humberside. To encourage free trade and bring investment to all regions of the country through lower taxes and cheaper customs, we are today revealing the locations of the first eight freeports in England: Teesside, Humberside, Felixstowe, Thames Gateway, Solent, Plymouth, Liverpool and the East Midlands.
- The new UK Infrastructure Bank will be headquartered in Leeds, benefiting from the city’s position as an established financial services hub with excellent transport links across the UK.
- Levelling up our country and spreading opportunity everywhere. Today we are announcing nine Town Deals with Wakefield, Whitby, Scarborough, Grimsby, Castleford, Goldthorpe, Scunthorpe, Morley, and Stocksbridge. These towns will benefit from £199 million from the Towns Fund. The fund will support their long-term economic and social regeneration as well as their immediate recovery from the impacts of coronavirus.
- Ten local authorities Yorkshire and the Humber will be priority places for the £220 million Community Renewal Fund, which will invest in people, communities and businesses across the UK. We are launching the prospectus for the Community Renewal Fund at Budget.
- Improving transport infrastructure across Yorkshire and the Humber. West Yorkshire Combined Authority is set to receive £7.4 million in capacity funding as part of the Intra-City Transport Settlement Program; Sheffield City Region is set to receive £5.2 million to develop comprehensive transport plans.
- Humberside will benefit from the development of a manufacturing port hub to support offshore wind, supporting up to 3,000 green jobs and helping to level up the UK as we move towards our net zero goal.
- Wakefield will receive a share of £18.8 million investment in local cultural infrastructure projects.
- Investing in flood defences. The next £5.2 billion Flood and Coastal Defence programme kickstarts in April. Schemes in Rotherham and Doncaster that will better protect a combined 1,171 homes from flooding, are among the schemes that will start construction in 2021-22.
- Supporting the aviation industry. Doncaster Sheffield, Humberside and Leeds Bradford airports will benefit from Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme extension and will help support their fixed costs, such as business rates. The freeze in air passenger duty for short-haul flights will benefit flights departing from Yorkshire and the Humber, while the long-haul economy rate will only increase by £2.
Investing in people, jobs and communities through national programmes:
- Extending the business rates holiday. Last year we provided an unprecedented 100 per cent business rates holiday for all eligible businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors – a tax cut worth £10 billion. This year, we will continue that 100 per cent holiday for the first three months until June, before cutting rates by two-thirds for the remaining nine months, up to a maximum £2 million per business. That means the vast majority of businesses will receive a 75 per cent cut in their bill next year – a tax cut worth £6 billion.
- Extending the VAT cut. To protect the 150,000 hospitality and tourism businesses which employ around 2.4 million jobs and have been hardest hit, we are extending the 5 per cent reduced rate of VAT for a further six months until the end of September. The rate will then increase to 12.5 per cent from October until the end of March, before returning to the normal 20 per cent rate from April 1. Overall, that’s a tax cut of nearly £5 billion next year.
- Delivering new Recovery Loans to replace our existing loan schemes. Our schemes have provided £70 billion of support to 1.5 million companies. But as these come to an end, we are introducing new Recovery Loans to take their place: loans from £25,000 up to £10 million, with an 80 per cent government guarantee.
- Helping people to get better skills for them to get better jobs. We have already launched the Restart scheme to help hundreds of thousands of long term unemployed; doubled the number of Work Coaches; introduced the Lifetime Skills Guarantee to fund Level 3 Qualifications for all adults; and launched the Kickstart scheme to help 250,000 young people into work. Today we go further by doubling the incentive payment to small businesses to take on apprentices of any age to £3,000, alongside £126 million to triple the number of traineeships next year.
- Freezing the Aggregates Levy, which will benefit around 97 quarrying sites in Yorkshire and the Humber.
This builds on existing measures benefiting Yorkshire and the Humber:
- 4 hospitals being built in the North East and Yorkshire, with the continued growth of medical undergraduate degree places, with an additional 159 places in Yorkshire and the Humber compared to 2017-18.
- In York, North Yorkshire and Leeds, the High Potential Opportunities Programme is promoting opportunities to secure inward investment in agri-tech and AI analytics.
- Yorkshire and the Humber will also benefit from over £100 million funding for local roads maintenance in 2021-22.
Stuart said: "I am delighted that the 2021 Budget recognises that we need to continue to offer vital support to families, jobs and businesses at this delicate stage in the pandemic. I am very encouraged by the package of support measures that have been put forward in the Budget, and I will continue to engage with HM Treasury on the support available to my constituents as we begin to recover from the toll this pandemic has taken.
I am especially pleased by the announcement of the new Infrastructure Bank in Leeds, as this is something I have been pushing particularly hard for due to the benefits it will bring to our region."