Chamber responds to Chancellor’s statement

Speaking on today’s statement from Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Nick Garthwaite, MD of Bradford based Christeyns and chair of the West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce said, “In our submission to the Chancellor we said that we needed to see support for young people, who will likely be the hardest hit from economic fallout from Covid-19, so plans for the kickstart programme to provide funded work experience are welcome. So too is the extra support for employers to take on apprentices. We cannot afford to lose a generation of young people to the crisis.

“However, we felt the Chancellor could have gone further by allowing apprentices to undertake much of the off the job training upfront to give employers more time to recover and ensure apprentices are better prepared to enter the workplace. We also still need to see greater flexibility in the apprenticeship levy so that employers can help their people get the skills they need to succeed in an evolving workplace.

“It was good to hear recognition of the huge impact that the lockdown has had on the leisure and hospitality sectors, which have been unprecedented across our region. Measures to temporarily reduce VAT is a welcome step and will help to stimulate a more rapid pickup in activity in those sectors and supply chains hardest hit as the economy gradually reopens. Encouraging consumers back into restaurants with half price meal vouchers may bring some footfall back to our city centre and district high streets, however we feel the scale and scope of this scheme must be much bolder to make a material difference

“The Chamber’s recently published QES Report  showed investment intentions have been hit hard during the pandemic, and so the Government should be preparing new incentives for business investment in the UK, including extending the £1 million Annual Investment Allowance for a further two years and  broadening its scope to include training, the transition to net zero and spending on making workplaces Covid-secure.”

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