Worcester MP Robin Walker has welcomed the Spring Budget as good news for businesses, jobs and families in the constituency. The budget provides billions of pounds to support businesses and families through the pandemic, delivers on the promises made by the Conservatives to the British people during the election and invests in the UK’s future economy.

On Wednesday, the Government set out an ambitious plan that focuses on supporting people and businesses through this moment of crisis – well beyond the end of the roadmap – to ensure they have the security and stability they need.

At the heart of the Budget are measures which will build our future economy, levelling up across all regions of the United Kingdom and spreading opportunity everywhere.

As part of the Government’s commitments to fund the nation’s priorities, the Budget confirmed:

  1.  An extension of the furlough scheme until the end of September, ensuring it continues to support employers as they begin to reopen. Two further grants will also be available to self-employed people – and those newly self-employed will also be eligible for both of these.
  2.  A continuation of the £20 Universal Credit uplift for a further six months, with a one-off payment of £500 for those claiming Working Tax Credits.
  3.  Support for providing young people with new skills: including doubling the incentive payment to SMEs to take on apprentices of any age to £3,000, and £126 million to triple the number of traineeships next year.
  4. An increase to the National Living Wage of £8.91 – the equivalent of £350 working full time on the National Living Wage.
  5. New Recovery Loans and a new Restart grant of up to £18,000 to help businesses as they reopen. Support for the sports, arts and culture sectors will also be increased by a further £700 million as they begin to reopen.
  6.  Extending the business rates holiday, VAT cut and stamp duty holiday. There will also be a new mortgage guarantee scheme from April which backs 95 per cent mortgages – helping those with smaller deposits.
  7. Opening up the new Levelling Up Fund for its first round of bids, worth £4.8 billion across the United Kingdom. Worcester will be one of the first towns to receive support in bidding for this funding.
  8.  Launching the first ever UK Infrastructure Bank to invest in public and private projects to drive green growth and create green jobs.
  9.  A new Help to Grow scheme to boost productivity of small businesses, to ensure they are embracing the latest technology and management training.
  10. Being honest with the British people about the need to fix the public finances. We are standing by our manifesto pledge not to increase Income Tax, NICs or VAT and we are freezing alcohol duty, and fuel duty for the 11th year in a row. However, in order to fix the public finances, corporation tax on large company profits will increase to 25 per cent in 2023. Small businesses will continue to be taxed at 19% and this will be tapered for medium sized ones and 70 per cent of businesses will be completely unaffected.

Commenting, Robin said:

“In advance of today’s budget I hoped for a commitment to families, jobs and businesses in Worcester and that is what the Chancellor has delivered.

“I was glad to see cross party support from Worcester city council for the Conservative government’s furlough, self employed income support scheme and the extra money we have invested in supporting people on universal credit and having raised all these issues with the chancellor ahead of his budget, I was pleased to see that he has delivered extensions on all three.”

“As well as an extension of the furlough scheme which will directly protect jobs and help keep businesses afloat, the £20 uplift in universal credit has been extended by a further six months, and claimants of Working Tax Credits will receive a one off payment of £500.

“I also welcome the Chancellor’s commitment to our pledge to level up opportunity across the United Kingdom, as he pledged £150,000 to help Worcester apply to a £4.8 billion fund that can make a real difference to our city.”

“Of course it is right that revenue needs to be raised to pay back the unprecedented levels of support that this government has delivered to our economy during a time of crisis and I think it is right to do this from a combination of growth and carefully targeted taxation. The changes to corporation tax and the freezing of personal allowances at the levels we set out to achieve in our manifesto are sensible steps to achieve this whilst protecting small businesses and those on lower incomes.”

“I was elected on a commitment to level up opportunity to Worcester and areas like ours, and this budget will help deliver on that, while helping families and businesses get through the Covid challenges and grow our economy in the years to come.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak MP said:

“Throughout this pandemic, my top priority has been to protect jobs, businesses and livelihoods. Today’s Budget reaffirms this commitment, with £407 billion to support the British people this year and next as one of the largest, most comprehensive and sustained responses this country has ever seen.

“It is thanks to successive Conservative governments that we have been able to respond to this crisis as boldly as we have. But we need to be honest about the challenges facing our public finances, and how we will begin to fix them.

“As we look ahead, this Budget lays the foundations of our future economy – driving up productivity, creating green jobs, supporting small businesses, and levelling up across the entire United Kingdom”.