"A long way from being levelled up” - Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce MD's reaction to Autumn Budget

The Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce’s MD, Martin Hathaway, has responded to the Autumn Budget stating that until the issues with transport are resolved, “the north will be a long way from being levelled up".

Thursday, 28th October 2021, 11:17 am
Martin Hathaway

Responding to the Autumn Budget 2021, Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce Managing Director Martin Hathaway said: “I am pleased that the Chancellor has recognised the huge effort that businesses have made to get the economy back on track.

“Especially here in the Yorkshire region, we have seen incredible determination and resilience within our business community throughout the recent hardships.

“I am disappointed that we are still waiting for an update on the progression of HS2. We are consistently being told ‘soon’ but we have been told this for a long time with no real updates or movement being shown on this project.

“An update on HS2 was on my wish list for today’s budget along with a complete shakeup of the business rates system but the Chancellor does not appear to be singing from the same hymn sheet.

“One of the biggest issues that our membership inform us of is the struggle with transport across the north, from Liverpool right through to Hull.

“This is a really important issue for the majority of northern firms and, until this issue is recognised and addressed, the north will be a long way from being ‘levelled up’.

“It’s no surprise to anyone that businesses in the hospitality, retail and leisure sectors had an incredibly tough time as a result of the pandemic and were some of the hardest hit organisations when it came to restrictions.

“We are delighted with the Chancellor’s announcement of a 50% business rates discount for these sectors for one year.

“This will give these struggling sectors some breathing space to get back on their feet and into a stable position for the years to come.

“I feel that the Chancellor could have gone much further, but 50% is a really welcome figure and will make a huge difference for our high streets and businesses that can benefit.

“I am slightly concerned that the Chancellor failed to address some major issues that are right around the corner, such as the inflationary pressures and the issues that are going to be caused by increased costs of staffing, transport and of power.

“Green announcements were also lacking in today’s budget. Businesses need some incentive to adopt greener and more sustainable methods of working.

“Leadership and guidance from the government is the only way we will be able to achieve Net Zero by 2050 and I look forward to working closely with the local business community and national bodies to solidify these plans for a more sustainable future.”