With the Government’s Budget in less than a week, there is growing anticipation across the UK for Rishi Sunak’s financial plan on Wednesday 3 March 2021.
In South Yorkshire small businesses and financial experts are calling on the Chancellor to extend business support measures, to help the region recover from the devastating impact of Covid-19.
Jesse Matheson, Economics Lecturer at the University of Sheffield said: “This is not the time to try and balance the Budget or tighten up the purse strings, it needs to be a big spending year.
“So something I would like to see for the next Budget is how they support small self-employed businesses.”
Research by the Federation of Small Businesses showed 1 million UK small firms were not supported since the start of the pandemic, including those in supply chains with rents and rising business rates.
John Conway, 37, owner of Spirit of Sheffield, said: “They need to be realistic and honest, either tell swathes of businesses they must go under or make substantial payments.”
He explained: “The furlough scheme and business rates extensions are crucial, if you haven’t got the trade or the support, the choice is between letting people off or keeping them on, this means at some point funds are going to run out for everyone.”
According to the Office of National Statistics in August 2020, 749,700 businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber region were on Furlough.
Thomas Sutton, Head of Policy & Representation at Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said: “In the Sheffield City Region, we currently have 10% of the working population on furlough. With an extension to the scheme, we hope this allows our people to return to their jobs when able to do so.”
In December the Government announced the Budget will set out the next phase to tackle the virus, protecting jobs and publishing the latest economic forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).
Mr Sutton, 33, added: “The single most important thing the Government can do is inspire business confidence. Demonstrate the commitment that business support will be available and targeted to the sectors that will need it most.”
This announcement will be the first fiscal discussion since the 11 March 2020, after the Autumn Budget was dropped.