Throughout the pandemic, I have been in regular contact with local businesses across the Forest of Dean – visiting them in person (when such a thing was allowed) or meeting them virtually over video calls.
From retail to hospitality, leisure and tourism – listening to employers’ feedback has been vital – they create opportunities, provide jobs and add so much to the Forest of Dean.
Their feedback has allowed me to personally ask the Chancellor Rishi Sunak for the right support in order to continue protecting as many jobs as possible across the Forest.
That’s why I’m pleased that many of our ‘asks’ have been delivered in the Budget. Here are just a few of the measures announced yesterday:
For businesses and employees, the furlough scheme will be extended until the end of September.
The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme will continue with a 4th grant covering February to April, and a 5th grant from May. As the tax return deadline has now passed, 600,000 more people, many of whom became self-employed last year, can now claim the 4th and 5th grants.
To protect hospitality and tourism jobs, the 5% reduced rate of VAT will be extended for six months to 30th September. And even then, we won’t go straight back to the 20% rate. We’ll have an interim rate of 12.5% for another six months.
The 100% business rates holiday will continue through to the end of June. For the remaining nine months of the year, business rates will still be discounted by two thirds, up to a value of £2m for closed businesses.
New Restart Grants to help businesses reopen
A new Recovery Loan Scheme
The apprentice incentive payments given to businesses is doubling to £3,000 – that’s for all new hires, of any age.
On top of these announcements, I’m also really pleased that the Forest of Dean is one of the areas of the country that has been awarded funding to assemble a bid for the Levelling Up Fund (created by the Chancellor to bring together the Department for Transport, the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government and HM Treasury to invest £4.8 billion in high value local infrastructure).
£150,000 will go to the Forest of Dean District Council to enable them to put together a strong bid for this fund. I look forward to working with the District Council on assembling this bid so that both the Forest’s local authority and local MP can back it and loudly recommend the case for our area to the Government.
More details about what was announced in the Budget yesterday can be found at this link: https://www.gov.uk/.../budget-2021-what-you-need-to-know